If my mother had a stroke that was caused by an defective artificial heart valve, does she had standing to sue?

UPDATED: May 27, 2011

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If my mother had a stroke that was caused by an defective artificial heart valve, does she had standing to sue?

The heart valve grew bacteria around it that caused the stroke. She is currently residing in a nursing home facility that does not offer any type of stroke rehabilitation. Is there anything that the family can do legally? Should we consult with a personal injury attorney? In Long Beach, CA.

Asked on May 27, 2011 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is probably worthwhile to consult with a personal injury attorney--specifically, one that does medical malpractice and/or medical product cases. Here are some general principalls to bear in mind, however:

1) The fact that there is a bad outcome does not mean there is liability. Medicine is still more of an art than a science, and sometimes patients have a problem when all the medical care was excellent. There must have been something done wrong for liabilty to attach.

2) For medical malpractice liability (e.g. against the surgeon or another doctor), there must have been neglience--an absence of the care normally expected of a doctor or other medical professional of that type. That can be in the diagnosis (did you mother need the valve? was this the right type of valve for her?) or in the surgury (was the valve implanted correctly) or in the follow-up care.

3) For liability against the device manufacturer--the maker of the valve--the valve must have been designed or manufactured incorrectly.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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