Friday, May 6, 2011
What are the pluses and minuses of using a lawyer in the Depuy Proceedings?
There is no clear answer as to whether you need a lawyer in the Depuy case. Clearly, the case is complicated and navigating the waters of this case are “murky” at best. Dealing with this case is not for the faint of heart.
· Someone who is experienced in this arena is managing your case and working on your behalf
· You may have a hard time getting the evidence from experts to make your case for the appropriate settlement. Dealing with experts is expensive and time consuming. The law firm will handle the expense.
· The process of dealing with this case is complex and generally, the attorneys assigned to the MDL panel for the plaintiffs ( a list of the 14 selectees who serve on this panel were published in a prior post) are quite experienced in navigating these waters in order to get you the best settlement.
· A lawyer will ensure that you file prior to the statue of limitations expire for placing your case (A statute of limitations is an enactment in a common law legal system that sets forth the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated.)
· You really do end up paying for the expenses for the case prosecution because the expenses are taken off the top of any settlement made on your behalf.
· In addition to the out of pocket for the expenses, at least 33% of the proceeds awarded to you do go to the law firm. That seems only fair given they are underwriting the case on spec with no assurance they will win the case.
· When you sign with the law firm, it is likely they will not want you to deal with the claims agents (broadspire) nor the defendant (Depuy in this case.) Some patients wouldn’t care and in fact, would rather have someone else deal with Depuy. That doesn’t happen to be the case with me. I prefer to deal with them directly re my claims.
· lots of paperwork is involved of course in order to communicate the case in detail to the law firm. No one can represent you adequately without the case details and there are quite a few details they will need.
· This case may take a year to settle out. It may be that Depuy will reach out to the patients once they assess their position and offer to settle. As you know, I am not a lawyer but my guess is, if they did that, they would have categories off severity and payout through that for damages. I haven’t a clue as to what those would be because my primary concern is the long term commitment to medical care should there be long term systemic damages.
In some cases, the defendant will attempt to resolve the cases directly. That saves Depuy a lot of time and money but you have to be confident that the settlement is in your best interest. Further, any disbursements made to you by the defendant is 100% yours. There is no split to be paid out to an attorney for representation. I imagine that any settlement contract would have to be reviewed by an attorney on your behalf anyway. I wouldn’t sign a settlement with anyone, were I entitled to one without an attorney experienced in these matters reviewing it.
Options with the law firms should be explored prior to your surgery as the explanted hip needs to be preserved and examined by someone. Generally the law firm will have experts to do that and will underwrite the cost to do so. Certain protocols during the surgery need to be followed in order to preserve the hip. The hip however, can always be shipped to the depuy consult and depuy will pay for that I presume.
I was speaking with a friend the other day and inquired whether a discipline called “game theory” had been explored in determining whether you are better off going with a law firm to prepare to litigate or are you better off settling. Interestingly enough, there are papers out there on this topic! I was referred to a paper by Seth Freeman JD who wrote a paper called “Sue or Settle” published by Harvard law School. I’ll look it up. Kind a curious.
I will post more once I have more general information.
Tomorrow, I will post an update on my case as all of my consult reports are now in.
Posted by Connie at 3:51 PM