Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Faqs
It is estimated that approximately 10% of the U.S. population develops a type of hernia at some point during their life, and doctors perform a staggering one million abdominal hernia repairs every year. In many of these operations, surgeons use a hernia mesh, also known as a surgical mesh.
While hernia meshes can be extremely helpful for a healthy recovery from hernia surgery, unfortunately, many patients are experiencing significant physical complications due to their mesh implant. These complications cause pain and distress and cost the patient large sums in medical fees and force them to take time off work.
If you have suffered injuries caused by your hernia mesh implant, you could be eligible for considerable compensation. The answers to these frequently asked questions may help you decide whether to file a hernia mesh lawsuit.
What is a Hernia Mesh?
A hernia mesh is a medical device placed around a hernia, attached with surgical glue, stitches, or staples to support the damaged tissue. There are over 70 types of hernia mesh. They are made from various materials and come in different shapes and sizes depending on the type of hernia they are used to repair.
The use of hernia meshes typically reduces the chance that a hernia will return and speeds up recovery. However, having a hernia mesh can result in serious complications.
How Can a Hernia Mesh Fail?
There are potentially significant complications from hernia mesh. These include:
Hernia mesh implants can migrate within the body. If the mesh adheres to the intestines, it can cause bowel obstruction. This is a hazardous condition that can cause part of the intestines to die by cutting off the blood flow. Bowel obstruction must be treated immediately, often by surgically removing a section of the intestine. Symptoms of this condition include nausea, vomiting, and inability to pass stools or gas.
If the hernia punctures the bowel, bacteria can enter the abdominal cavity and lead to a severe inflammation called peritonitis or sepsis. Symptoms include abdominal pain and rigidity, nausea, and vomiting. It is considered a life-threatening issue that requires immediate medical treatment.
Infections caused by hernia meshes can take years to become apparent and often require surgery (to remove the mesh) and intravenous antimicrobial treatments. Fever and flu-like symptoms typify infection.
As with any implant, surgical meshes pose the risk of rejection, where the body’s immune system attacks it. Signs that this has happened are flu-like symptoms, tenderness, and redness at the surgery site.
Other complications include chronic pain, seromas (a collection of fluid under the skin), erosion of the mesh, adhesion, and recurrence of the hernia.
What is the Timeline for a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit?
The time from your hernia mesh attorney filing your lawsuit to the trial date can take several years. There are various stages to this process, starting with both sides compiling evidence. This includes medical records, expert reports, financial documentation, and interrogatories (written questions answered in writing under oath).
Both plaintiff and defendant may file various motions to set ground rules and resolve issues before the impending trial. These motions could, for instance, require the opposing side to take a particular action, such as produce specific documents. This is known as a motion to compel. These motions can slow down the progress of your claim.
You may be given a date for your trial early on, but do not be surprised if it changes along the way. Trial date changes are common and very often have nothing to do with your case. It is also possible that an out-of-court settlement solves your case despite having a trial date set.
Why Are Defective Hernia Meshes Being Used?
Most medical devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are put through a rigorous premarket approval (PMA) process that verifies their safety through clinical testing. However, hernia mesh implants are slightly different as the FDA approves them using a clearance process called the 510(k).
To pass the 510(k), hernia mesh manufacturers have to prove that their device has the same intended use and technical characteristics as another device currently on the market or, if their technical characteristics differ, they must not raise new questions in terms of safety and effectiveness.
This problematic process allows defective products to be used in hernia surgeries, ultimately leading to patients experiencing unpleasant and potentially life-threatening complications. When a defective implant is detected, the FDA may recall it. Unsurprisingly, most recalled hernia meshes were approved via the 510(k) process rather than the more thorough PMA process.
If the FDA consequently recalled the type of hernia mesh used in your operation, your case against the implant manufacturer will be stronger. The recall makes it easier for your hernia mesh lawyer to prove product liability and win significant compensation for your injuries.
What Kind of Compensation Could I Be Eligible For?
If you have suffered from complications caused by your surgical mesh, you can file a hernia mesh claim and potentially be awarded both economic and non-economic damages. Depending on your situation, your economic damages could include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Various miscellaneous costs such as travel expenses to appointments
In addition to the economic losses, which can be quantified, you may receive compensation for emotional and mental damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
In some extreme cases, the judge may award exemplary damages. This occurs when the court believes the defendant -often the hernia mesh manufacturer- engaged in outrageous misconduct. It is often used to deter the defendant or others from committing this misconduct again.
Are There Any Previous Similar Claims?
When many people file similar claims against the same defendant, the court can group claims in a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The same judge oversees these cases, and the outcome of these trials, known as bellwether trials, act as a guide for future settlements. This system often speeds up the process of recovering damages.
The MDL process is an efficient and economical process. Your case can be transferred to the MDL or can be filed directly in the MDL with a short form complaint. Once your short form complaint is filed, you will work with your attorney to file a Plaintiff’s Profile Form (PPF) to disclose the details of your claim including product identification, physicians and a description of your specific injuries.
At settlement, your claim will be evaluated and compensated with a formula developed to treat all claimants fairly. If you are not satisfied with the offer to settle, you have the right to opt out and proceed with your case.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
After experiencing hernia mesh complications, your priority is to get the medical attention you need. However, time passes quickly, and it is surprisingly easy to wait too long to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for filing a hernia mesh lawsuit is three years. This means you must file your claim within three years of the date the injury occurred or when you first became aware of the problem. It is not necessarily three years from the date of your hernia mesh implant surgery.
This is significant as some hernia mesh injuries only become apparent several years after they are implanted. It is generally better to file sooner rather than later as crucial evidence, such as medical records, can become lost over time.
Who Is Liable For My Injuries?
If you wish to file a claim for the complications you experienced after your hernia surgery, it is essential to establish who is liable for your injuries.
There are generally two types of potential lawsuits in hernia mesh cases: medical malpractice and product liability. If your mesh implant was defective, you could sue the manufacturer for product liability, whereas if the implant was not defective, but the medical professionals responsible for your surgery caused the issue, such as implanting the mesh poorly, you can sue them for medical malpractice.
Generally speaking, medical malpractice lawsuits are more complicated than product liability ones, so they are often more desirable. Medical malpractice lawsuits also often have damage caps, meaning the quality of the compensation you could receive is limited. For instance, in January 2021, the State of Michigan Department of Treasury announced that the upper cap for noneconomic medical malpractice claim damages is now $851,000, while the lower cap is now $476,600.
How Can an Attorney Help My Case?
Both medical device product liability cases and medical malpractice lawsuits are complex processes requiring attorneys’ experienced in the field. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate your allegations and gather any evidence that proves your claims, such as employment, manufacturing, medical, and hospital records.
Another benefit of working with a lawyer is that they will be aware of any previous and current lawsuits in the field and assist you in joining an existing MDL or class action, which typically speeds up the process of achieving compensation.
Unless your hernia mesh case is settled out of court, there will be a trial to determine the result. In the trial, your attorney will argue your case and cross-examine the witnesses.
After experiencing injuries due to a hernia mesh implant, you should concentrate on your health and allow your lawyer to use their skill and expertise to get you the compensation you deserve.
Who Can I Discuss My Case With?
Once you have found a law firm you trust to take on your hernia mesh case, you should limit the people with whom you discuss your lawsuit. The defense attorney will be on the lookout for any evidence that disproves your claims, so you must be cautious.
This caution extends to your use of social media. These days many people are accustomed to frequently posting updates about their lives, but it is all too easy to reveal something that could be presented in federal court as evidence against you. For example, a photo of you on a skiing trip or a location update in a gym may indicate that your symptoms are not as severe as you claim.
While your case is underway, the safest thing is to limit your use of social media as much as possible, set your privacy settings to the maximum, and do not accept friend or follow requests from anyone you don’t know. However, although it is tempting to delete your accounts altogether, this is risky as you could be accused of tampering with evidence.
Start Your Journey to Compensation Today
The injuries caused by defective hernia meshes, or those that have been poorly implanted, affect victims’ lives physically, emotionally, and financially. People suffering from these injuries believed they were undergoing a medical procedure that would help them but instead experienced more distress and pain.
It is only right that victims like you receive the appropriate compensation, and the best way to achieve that is by working with an experienced law firm such as Cochran, Kroll & Associates, PC. To discuss your case with an understanding and knowledgeable attorney, call 866-779-7331 to book an initial consultation.
Disclaimer: The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel, and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.