Credit: Cmglee/Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Cmglee/Wikimedia Commons

There has been an extraordinary expanse in the past two decades in medical device technology. The nexus between computer chips, robotics and various mechanical implants to supplement or even take the place of attendants, personal support, and simpler artificial aids is only growing by the day. Indeed, one could argue that we are at the dawn of the next era of medicine.

An underlying question is the legal framework for what occurs when a robotic assistive device malfunctions, or cutting edge piece of technology results in worse or additional injury and illness. Products liability is embedded in consumer protection and delivering goods of merchantable quality; whereas medical malpractice is founded in patient compensation.  Industry, and the lawyers and insurers who work within and without will increasingly see these two once seemingly disparate areas of law overlap and combine in serious claims.

Daniel Michaelson