The Timeline Of A Hernia Mesh Lawsuit
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Recovery from hernia mesh surgery takes six weeks. If there are problems, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
Recovering from hernia repair surgery takes time, and complications can prolong your recovery time. Most people are ready to return to work or school in two to three weeks, but sometimes it takes longer. Usually, there is a return to normal function — with no lifting limitations — after six weeks.
Anyone is at risk for complications — especially if the surgery occurred in the past 15 years. The signs of post-surgery hernia mesh failure are:
- Chronic pain, discomfort, bruising, or swelling in the abdomen or groin
- A lump in or around the hernia site
- Redness, soreness, and warmth in the area of the surgical incision
- Abdominal bloating or bowel obstructions
- Fluid build-up near the surgical site
- Fever, nausea, and vomiting
If You Suspect a Problem
See your doctor immediately if you suspect a problem. If your doctor confirms your symptoms and subsequent complications are a result of your mesh, you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer.
Millions of hernia surgeries have utilized mesh implants and the failure rate is estimated to be as high as 12-30%. In some hernia mesh cases, the side effects that indicate a problem can take years to emerge.
Certain hernia mesh patch products can shrink, shrivel, and migrate, causing damage to nearby organs. Adhesions — or the development of scar-like tissue that causes organs, muscle, and body tissue to stick together sometimes occur. Irritation or abrasions from the mesh can cause a hole in the bowel or neighboring organs. Many of the newer synthetic meshes were rushed through the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 510(k) process — which is a fast-track review, based on devices that are deemed to be similar to an already approved medical device.
Can You File a Claim?
There are several bellwether trials recently settled or currently underway against hernia mesh manufacturers, and the outcome of these trials determines how emerging lawsuits proceed.
Bellwether trials are when large numbers of lawsuits are filed about the same issues, and the federal court system chooses to organize them into groups. This is called multidistrict litigation (MDL). In this arrangement, the same judge may rule on all pretrial matters and preside over early trials. It is the outcome of these bellwether trials that guide all settlement negotiations that follow.
The key bellwether trials to be aware of include:
- Davol/Bard’s Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch: MDL No. 1842 Settlement: $184 million ($60,000 for each of the 2,700 plaintiffs)
- Atrium Medical Corporation’s C-Qur Mesh: MDL No. 2753 Bellwether litigation is still in pretrial discovery. It consists of over 2,000 cases.
- Davol/Bard’s Polypropylene Hernia Mesh: MDL No. 2846 The trial involves over 3,000 plaintiffs.
- Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon Physiomesh: MDL No. 2782 Trail scheduled for late 2020
- Physiomesh New Jersey: MCL No. 627: The New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered all current and future Physiomesh lawsuits brought into multicounty litigation (MCL) in Atlantic City. The case is currently in the discovery stage.
While this summarizes the primary consolidations of hernia mesh lawsuits, there are several individual lawsuits underway against Medtronic and Covidien that concern their hernia mesh implants.
If you or someone close to you has been injured as the result of a hernia mesh implant, it is helpful to contact an attorney to determine how your lawsuit could be affected by the bellwether trials recently settled or now in process.
What Damages are You Seeking?
If you are considering filing a lawsuit, you’ll need to determine how much damage has been created by your failed hernia mesh product — both financial and physical damages.
How much work time have you lost due to your surgery? Was the mesh removed? Did you need additional, corrective surgery?
Once a lawsuit is filed, the discovery process will lead to both sides in the case collecting information and documentation, including medical records, expert reports, financial information, and various interrogatories (written questions that must be answered in writing and under oath).
How Long Does a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Take?
From start to finish a hernia mesh lawsuit can take several years. During the discovery period, which is the period beginning with the initial filing and when the case is actually heard in court, both sides of the lawsuit usually file motions with the court to resolve certain issues and set the ground rules for the upcoming trial.
A “motion to compel,” for example, is when one side asks the court to force the other side to do something (i.e. produce certain documents, or agree to a deposition). A “motion for summary judgment” or “motion to dismiss” can also be filed, which, if approved by the judge, ends the entire lawsuit.
While most cases develop in a step-by-step manner along a fairly predictable timeline that can take several years, hernia mesh cases can also be resolved through out-of-court settlement at any time.
It’s also important to note that just because a lawsuit is scheduled for trial, that doesn’t always mean the trail will actually begin on that date. Trail dates get moved all the time, usually for unrelated reasons, but that can further delay a settlement or award decision.
Finding an Attorney
When you look for an attorney to handle your hernia mesh lawsuit, it’s important to do some research.
- Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Consult the state bar for names and specialties. Look for an attorney and law firm that specializes in cases like yours, and has a track record of success.
- Meet with your prospective attorney before you decide. Ask about the kinds of verdicts and settlements they have secured for other clients — and ask them directly how they feel about handling your case.
- Ask them for the pros and cons, about the “what ifs,” and settlement possibilities.
It’s important to find an attorney who makes you feel comfortable, gives you honest and clear feedback and has the capacity to meet the challenges of your case. You need to feel safe asking questions and sharing personal information. You need to trust your attorney, and your attorney needs to trust you.
Look for a law firm that has the capability to systematically gather evidence, assist you in documenting and calculating losses, and can represent your interests with insurance company attorneys and in court.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. are dedicated professionals who represent individuals and families in personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice lawsuits. Senior partner Eileen Kroll specializes in medical malpractice and related product liability cases, and her experience as a Registered Nurse is invaluable in helping to evaluate your injuries for legal purposes.
We also understand the pain and emotional challenges that can accompany hernia mesh failure and injury. We pride ourselves in bringing compassion and sensitivity to all our client relationships.
We are happy to meet with you at any time, in a place that is comfortable for you — including our offices, your home, or some other location.
After this free consultation, if we decide to work together, it will be on a contingency fee basis, which means that the amount of money we receive is based on the compensation that you receive.
Contact us today (24 hours) at 866-MICH-LAW or use our convenient online contact form to schedule your no-obligation 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.