The Medtronic HeartWare HVAD device has been a lifesaver for many patients suffering from heart failure. But as with any medical device, the HVAD is a complex piece of machinery. Various components can fail, causing serious injury or death. Lawsuits have been filed over the HVAD device, alleging various causes of action.
One of the key components in any lawsuit involving a medical device is a process known as discovery. This is the official phase in which the parties exchange information relevant to the lawsuit.
If you or a loved one are pursuing a Medtronic HeartWare HVAD lawsuit, you need to know how discovery works. The mass tort attorneys of Rueb Stoller Daniel are here to walk you through it.
Why Is Discovery Necessary?
When someone files a lawsuit, they usually have some information about the subject matter. In the context of medical devices, like the HVAD, they may have (for instance) medical records. These records can detail some of the injuries the patient suffered because the device malfunctioned.
However, parties to a lawsuit – and that includes the defendant – don’t know everything when the complaint is filed. They don’t yet have all the information they need to make (or refute) legal arguments. They lack a comprehensive view of all the evidence because they have yet to acquire it. Judges and clerks are not responsible for obtaining evidence for either party. That’s where discovery comes in.
During discovery, the parties will request relevant evidence from each other to help build their cases. Plaintiffs will obtain information from defendants, and vice versa. This evidence will be used to (among other things):
- Develop arguments on both sides of litigation,
- Narrow the scope of issues in contention between the parties,
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both parties’ positions,
- Establish a monetary value of the case, that is, an amount the lawsuit is worth in damages,
- Assist the parties in settlement negotiations.
There are various discovery tools that attorneys on both sides of a case may use. The exact ones will vary from one lawsuit to another.
Types of Discovery That May Be Used in Your HVAD Lawsuit:
With the above in mind, your lawyer may choose to use these discovery tools (among others):
These are written requests for information sent from one party to another. They are answered under oath and often lead to uncovering other evidence. Or they may answer certain questions in their own right.
Requests for Documents:
Parties may ask each other for certain important records. In an HVAD lawsuit, this may include (for instance) the victim’s medical records. Or it might mean demanding internal emails to find out what the company knew about the dangers of the HVAD.
Requests for Admission:
These are questions asking a party to admit or deny certain statements. These requests are typically used to narrow the scope of the lawsuit. They can also save time and money. That’s because if the parties don’t disagree on certain fundamental facts, they won’t have to spend time litigating over them.
A witness will give oral testimony and be examined and cross-examined under oath during a deposition. The deposition testimony will be reduced to writing or recorded in a video. Parties and witnesses may be deposed.
These are orders issued under the court’s authority compelling someone to attend the trial. The person may be required to appear in person, bring documents, or both.
Building a Compelling Case for Your HVAD Lawsuit:
These are not the only types of discovery that may be used in your HVAD claim. Your attorney will discuss other potential tools. An experienced lawyer understands the various rules surrounding discovery and knows how to object to certain inappropriate requests.
If you have been injured by the HVAD device, it’s time to speak with dedicated legal counsel. It’s time to speak with Rueb Stoller Daniel. Call us today.