After reading an article yesterday about DePuy Orthopedics Inc.’s tactical approach in response to over 2,000 lawsuits stemming from their recall of their metal ASR hip system due to higher rates of failure than anticipated, I began to wonder about the company’s motivation. So what was this tactic? Well, DePuy, a Johnson & Johnson company, has hired Broadspire Services Inc, a company that handles insurance and medical claims, to resolve claims directly with DePuy ASR patients.

Minimizing DePuy hip recall lawsuits.

Industry and legal experts are debating the meaning behind this move to have a third party handle settlements. On the one hand, it could be seen as a way to streamline the settlement process by outsourcing it so the company can focus on what they do – making artificial hips. To others, this means that DePuy is vying for a way to resolve claims with their hip replacement patients directly, and more importantly, without the involvement of attorneys. Not having an attorney will likely mean less awards being paid out. DePuy could save who knows how many millions of dollars with this move.

It is normal practice to have companies and their lawyers handle recalls directly with patients and their attorneys and doctors. DePuy is attempting to change the process and have a patient resolve his or her DePuy ASR hip implant case directly with Broadspire. This process would mean the patient would be without legal representation in most cases and would rely on Broadspire to determine the value of their case.

What am I risking if I settle my DePuy claim directly with Broadspire?

From a business standpoint, surely Johnson & Johnson and DePuy think this move is brilliant, but what about the victims? Not only would an unrepresented DePuy ASR hip implant patient risk settling his or her case for a fraction of its value, but a patient unfamiliar with the laws that apply to settlement claims and medical liens may not account for all of their liabilities. If you settle your DePuy ASR hip claim without knowing what your rights are, you can end up paying for a new hip yourself.

What do you think? Is DePuy’s move to have Broadspire handle their ASR hip system claims a smart business move or is it unfair to patients?

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