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While silicone breast implants have been around since the 1960s, for a rather long stretch in the US, they were prohibited. However, after decades of debate and research, the government declared silicone implants to be safe for medical research use in 1992, and finally in 2003, for individual use.
Despite silicone implants being considered safe to use, there are still associated risks involved for individuals who choose to get them. Apart from the risks involved with the surgical implantation itself, complications can arise many years later. In fact, the FDA and medical experts recommend that individuals with silicone implants have them checked via mammogram or MRI every other year to detect leaks, ruptures, or other potential issues. Additionally, individuals with silicone implants should expect having to replace them every ten years.
Who's Liable for a Ruptured Implant?
If a person is injured as a result of a silicone implant rupture, whether or not a lawsuit can be filed will depend on how the rupture occurred. For example, recently, in San Diego, California, the wife of former mayor Roger Hedgecock has filed a lawsuit against the city as a result of a trip and fall on a city sidewalk that caused her breast implants to rupture. The trip and fall injury is one of several the city of San Diego has had to deal with in recent years, as there have been systemic failures to repair roadways and sidewalks throughout the county for several years now. Recently, the city paid nearly $5 million to a severely injured bicyclist due to the poor sidewalk maintenance.
When an implant ruptures due to the negligence of another, such as in a car accident, then the at-fault party can be found liable for the ruptured implant. Under the law, a person who causes injury to another, whether negligently or intentionally, can be held liable for not just the injury sustained due to the negligent act or omission, but also subsequent injuries that would not have resulted, but for the original injury.
For instance, if the mayor's wife had died on the surgical table due to medical malpractice while getting her implants corrected, the city could have potentially been held liable for wrongful death (as the fall can be argued to be the proximate cause of the med. mal. injury).
Medical Malpractice and Product Liability
In addition to the negligent actions causing an implant to rupture, they can also rupture due to medical malpractice or product defects. If the implant is surgically implanted incorrectly, it can lead to complications and potentially leaks or ruptures. If the implant itself is defective, this can also lead to leaks or ruptures. In either case, seeking the help of a qualified injury attorney as soon as you are aware of the rupture is highly advisable.
Fortunately, a defective implant injury will likely have a statute of limitations that does not begin to run until it is discovered. But if the injury occurs due to medical malpractice, it's important to note that medical malpractice claims often have shortened time periods to file to file a claim.
Regardless of how an implant ruptures, any victim of such an injury should seek out a legal consultation as soon as possible after receiving medical care.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.