Many people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea and other conditions that rob them of their sleep. You might be among those who suffer from sleep apnea and obtain a CPAP machine that is designed to deliver oxygen to your system while you sleep so that you can obtain better quality sleep and be more alert and live a generally healthier existence.
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine creates a small amount of positive airway pressure that ensures your body receives a sufficient amount of oxygen the entire time that you are sleeping. Without it, you likely would suffer from reduced oxygen intake that causes you to awaken several times throughout the night or whenever you normally sleep.
Many manufacturers create CPAP machines, and at least one brand has proven to be especially problematic. A relatively minor design flaw leads to potentially dangerous health implications for anyone who uses it.
Potential Problems with the Philips CPAP Machine
The CPAP machine produced by Philips is one of the most extensively used in the United States and other parts of the world. It helps people to get a full night’s sleep that includes the critically important REM stage during which your body truly rests. A fully rested body enables you to stay more alert and active during your waking hours.
The Philips CPAP machine has an issue with a foam filter used to silence the machine. The filter helps to dampen the sounds made by the internal fan and motor so that you and others with similar issues can sleep. Unfortunately, the filter is prone to shifting or flaking off small bits over time.
The small pieces of foam might get into your airway, and you can breathe them into your lungs. The foam pieces also can contact with hot parts of the CPAP machine, burn, and create small amounts of toxic smoke or fumes that you also might breathe.
Breathing in small bits of foam or smoke could have an adverse effect on your health. Many people who have suffered from health complications caused by faulty CPAP devices have filed federal product liability lawsuits against Philips and other defendants.
Federal Courts Handle CPAP Product Liability Cases
You cannot file a CPAP product liability case in a state court. Instead, you would need to pursue a federal case in the federal court system where the matter has been consolidated into multi-district litigation.
A CPAP case qualifies as a mass tort and is subject to multi-district litigation. That is a fancy way of saying there are a lot of cases pending that will be filed that arise from essentially the same issue.
In a multi-district litigation case, the respective causes of action generally are the same. So are the defendants. A federal panel will determine which federal court or courts will handle MDL cases, such as the one created for the CPAP issue.
Statute of Limitations Applies to CPAP Cases
Whether your health is affected by using a CPAP device or a spouse or family member is affected, it is important to know the answer to “How long do you have to file a lawsuit?”
CPAP lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations that varies by state. Some states might have a relatively small window, such as two to five years to initiate legal action. Others might have larger windows of opportunity, like 10 years or more.
Your attorney can help you to better understand how the statute of limitations might affect your case while enabling you to file the strongest legal claims.