Women could get €15,000 for faulty implants

Around 10,000 Irish women fitted with breast implants filled with cheap industrial grade silicone could each receive up to €15,000 in compensation.

Women affected by the scandal are being urged to become involved in a major class action before the French courts.

The French manufacturer of the sub-standard implants — Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) — went out of business in 2009.

However, women can sue the German certification company TUV, who declared the implants were safe.

Lawyers from the Stanton Fisher Group in Dublin have been working on the action with French lawyer, Oliver Aumaitre, who took TUV to court.

The court found TUV had neglected its duties of check and vigilance, was liable for its actions, and had to indemnity all the victims.

The decision means women in Ireland who had PIP implants can take action in the French courts through Mr Aumaitre and Staunton Fisher Medical.

Around 1,700 women in the landmark French case were awarded interim payments of €3,000, but an appeal has to be heard at the start of December before final damages are assessed.

A decision on the appeal is expected early next year.

An Irish woman now hopeful of being compensated said one of three sets of PIP breast implants she had fitted since 2005 had ruptured and there was concern that some of the silicone had lodged in her lymph nodes.

“I got the implants because I was so small and wanted to have a better shape. Now I don’t know what is going on inside my body,” she said.

PIP implants were sold widely across the world from the mid-1990s to 2010, when the product that often ruptured was found to be unsafe.

Last year, the chief executive of PIP was prosecuted and sentenced to four years in prison for aggravated fraud.

The HSE said it would fund the removal of the implants on medical grounds, but would not pay for replacement implants.

Mr Aumaitre said women could receive between €10,000 and €15,000 in compensation, a figure that would include the €3,000 interim payment.

Solicitor David Coleman from Coleman Legal Partners — who is representing around 1,000 women in 43 separate High Court cases against TUV — said he was contacted by Mr Aumaitre.

Mr Coleman said it was an opportunity for victims of “this appalling tragedy” to finally get compensation and recognition for what happened to them.

Staunton Fisher is not charging any up-front fees and there was no requirement for the implants to have ruptured or still be in place to pursue a claim.

About 15% of the damages will be charged by way of a fee.

Their legal manager, Steven Hulme, said the French court had set a deadline for submitting new claims by March next year.

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