The Stryker Settlement deadline (i.e. deadline to participate in the settlement) is now extended until March 16, 2015. There are specific requirements to fulfill before the settlement deadline. Various forms and documents (e.g. medical records) need to be submitted to the settlement claims administrator by the March 16th deadline.
You must submit sufficient medical records to show you had a Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II and it was revised for “recall-related” reasons, as defined in the settlement agreement. The medical records should show you had elevated cobalt and chromium, tissue damage, or some other indication showing your hip was revised due to the recalled hip.
Many people ask why there is a need for an attorney. “What’s the benefit of having an attorney if I settle my case on my own? Won’t I save money doing it myself?” The settlement agreement actually encourages individuals to hire an attorney. The process of submitting the required forms and documents to the claims administrator is arduous and complex. An attorney facilitates this process on your behalf. Under the terms of the settlement, if you do not have an attorney, your settlement amount (i.e. compensation you receive), is reduced by 32%. Most attorneys charge 33.3%. However, an attorney goes through the process of determining what the client is entitled to under the settlement. This can often be a complicated process involving medical records and interpreting the 96 page settlement agreement. We are responsible for putting together the settlement admission to the claims administrator, and insuring all the appropriate forms and documents are provided by the deadline. Failure to properly analyze the claim, or failure to submit the proper paperwork, can result in receiving less than you are entitled to under the settlement agreement or a substantial delay in your payment. Therefore, it is truly in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process, and focus on your claim.
Another question is, “How do I guarantee I’m getting what I deserve under the settlement?” This is another situation where you should consider hiring an attorney. An attorney will make sure you get the most of what you’re entitled under the settlement agreement.
The settlement agreement is divided into two parts:
1) The Base Award- this is typically $300,000. This base award may then be adjusted downward for age and/or whether the original hip was put in to replace another hip.
2) Enhanced Benefit Matrix- potential enhanced benefits for specific damages resulting during or after revision surgery; damages are assigned a monetary value.
What is the timing of payment? When will I get paid?
Under the settlement agreement, the Base Award is distributed in late summer 2015 or early fall 2015. Individuals who submit all the appropriate paperwork will be paid during that time frame. However, if you do not submit the appropriate paperwork, you will move to the “end of the line”. This greatly delays the time period in which you get paid. Payments for the enhanced benefits are distributed in early 2016. These payments are also affected by how the forms are submitted. If you make a mistake, this also delays the enhanced benefit payment.
What if I do not take the Settlement? What if the Settlement is not right for me?
If you fall into this category, you essentially have one option. Your option is continuing with your lawsuit, if you have one on file. If you don’t have one on file, you need to file a lawsuit immediately. You do not have to take the settlement; the settlement is only an offer. No one is required to take it. We have many clients who are not taking the settlement. We intend to pursue their cases, attempt to get trial dates, and hopefully get them a verdict more than the settlement or a future settlement more than what is currently offered. Some people are not taking the settlement because it just doesn’t work for them. There are individuals suffering problems after revision surgery resulting in permanent injuries (e.g. chronic limps, lifelong pain medication). They have significant damages not adequately compensated by the settlement.
If you have a Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II hip, and are experiencing any problems, feel free to give us a call. We can also help with the settlement and how to process the appropriate paperwork and navigating the deadlines. We have an upcoming deadline on March 16th. Don’t wait until it’s too late, act now.