Do I Need a Hernia Mesh Attorney?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
A patient who receives hernia mesh for hernia repair expects the implant to be permanent. Manufacturers and medical providers have a duty to ensure that all medical devices, including hernia mesh, are safe and the patient can recover from surgery.
Unfortunately, companies don’t always comply with their legal responsibility to safeguard patients. Defective hernia mesh implants can cause patients to suffer severe injuries and complications that may show up years later.
Sometimes, even if the hernia mesh is safe, the surgeon performing the hernia mesh implant surgery makes a mistake that affects the patient’s quality of life. When this happens, injured patients should turn to an experienced hernia mesh attorney and file a lawsuit for a hernia injury.
Common Complications From Hernia Mesh
Hernias typically occur around the abdominal wall, caused by a hole or weakness in the surrounding muscles and connective tissue. They have several causes ranging from multiple pregnancies to constipation or aging. The presence of a hernia may not always be apparent until a doctor examines you for other reasons.
Hernia surgeries are common procedures. Over one million hernia surgeries are performed each year in the United States, according to the FDA.
The recurrence of hernias is common. In some cases, depending on the doctor’s diagnosis, implanting a hernia mesh is one solution to reinforce a repaired hernia. A hernia mesh should reduce the chances of future complications and lessen recovery time.
Some of the most common complications from hernia mesh are:
- Mesh erosion
- Bowel perforation
- Bowel obstruction
- Mesh migration and mesh shrinkage (contraction)
- Hernia recurrences
According to the FDA, numerous complications result from hernia mesh products. Some of these hernia mesh products have been recalled. These include:
- Johnson and Johnson Ethicon PhysioMesh Flexible Composite Mesh
- Covidien Parietex Composite Mesh
- Atrium C-Qur Mesh
When a hernia mesh fails, long-term health issues can occur, requiring revision surgeries. Kidney failure, neurological problems, and joint pain are other possible complications. A second surgical procedure may be necessary to repair or replace the hernia mesh in more severe cases.
These issues and complications can interfere with your recovery and result in long-term effects on your health and finances. According to a study published in JAMA Surgery, the rate of complications increased five years after hernia mesh surgery. Out of 3,242 patients, more than 1,050 surgical hernia mesh patients underwent further abdominal surgery.
Who is Liable in a Hernia Mesh for Hernia Mesh Complications
When you suffer health issues from hernia mesh surgery, you might consider suing the manufacturer of the hernia mesh device or the surgeon who performed the surgery. Each hernia injury is unique, so the circumstances determine the type of lawsuit.
Patients may experience unanticipated complications following mesh surgeries from these two causes:
- The mesh itself could result in a product liability suit against the manufacturer
- The way the hernia mesh is implanted during surgery could result in a medical malpractice suit against the surgeon
If you’re thinking about suing over medical expenses and other losses due to a defective hernia mesh, you need to get a medical diagnosis of your injuries caused by the hernia mesh failure. You must also have proof of the defective hernia mesh, for which you’ll likely need to involve your attending physician or produce supporting medical records.
Hernia Medical Malpractice Lawsuit vs. Product Liability Lawsuit
Claims for hernia mesh injuries can take two possible paths; a medical malpractice lawsuit or a product liability lawsuit. In Michigan, they are similar in that both medical malpractice and product liability claims are limited in damages. They require key witnesses and involve a great deal of technical information that your lawyer will review with you. However, a medical malpractice lawsuit and a product liability lawsuit entail different procedures.
A medical malpractice lawsuit involves several distinctive procedural hurdles, such as filing an affidavit of merit or appearing before a pre-law court screening committee. While a product liability case does not require specific filings or pre-lawsuit committees to clear, you still need to prove that your hernia mesh was the cause of your complications and health issues with a diagnosis from your doctor and supporting medical records.
As soon as you experience any hernia mesh complications, you should consult your doctor and an attorney. An expert hernia mesh attorney can help you understand the legal process and assign liability for your hernia injuries to file a lawsuit. Our senior partner, Eileen Kroll, has years of experience as a registered nurse, providing a unique perspective on your case both medically and legally.
What You Need to Know About Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
When dealing with a hernia mesh lawsuit, you will find many cases similar to yours. The increase of hernia injuries is leading to thousands of product liability lawsuits around the United States. The number of hernia mesh complaints filed in federal courts grew to the point where the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to create three additional class-action lawsuits to handle the cases more efficiently.
These mesh manufacturing companies are defendants in the lawsuits. They include Ethicon (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary), C.R. Bard, Inc., and Atrium Medical Corp. The lawsuits could directly affect each other, on the manufacturing of hernia mesh products, and the lives of thousands of injured patients who may have incurred additional surgeries, pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages as a result.
The pre-trial proceedings are usually consolidated, but the injured patients can determine their preferred course of legal action. If you believe you have a case, you need to know about the statute of limitations for filing your claim.
The Statute of Limitations for Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
According to Michigan state law, if you experienced pain and suffering or other side effects following hernia mesh surgery, you should file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations. In medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date the healthcare provider caused harm to a patient.
Alternatively, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit within six months after discovering that the harm occurred. The statute of limitations for product liability, including medical devices, is three years.
Since these lawsuits will be treated as nationwide disputes, there could be a long delay in resolving them. Contact your attorney about filing a hernia mesh lawsuit immediately upon discovering your injuries.
They can review your case to determine whether you are eligible for compensation. Lawyers who have extensive experience with cases like yours should be able to assess who is liable for your hernia mesh injury.
Typical Process of a Hernia Injury Lawsuit
There is no set duration for the lawsuit process, as each phase may vary in length. The process of a hernia mesh lawsuit can go forward like this:
An injured patient who has now become the plaintiff files a civil lawsuit in court stating their claims against a hernia mesh manufacturer or surgeon. They are now the defendant.
The defendant can respond to a complaint by filing an “answer.”
The plaintiff and the defendant put together written questions or interrogatories (sworn testimony or depositions) and document requests to exchange medical records and other evidence. Your lawyer will guide you through this and protect your privacy if the defendant asks for medical records and additional information unrelated to your case.
Pre-trial Motions and Hearings
Both parties try to convince the judge to either accept or dismiss specific evidence like expert witness’ testimonies or dismiss all or part of the other party’s case.
The plaintiff and defendant present their arguments before the judge and jury. The judge or jury determines if the defendant should be financially responsible for the plaintiff’s losses resulting from hernia mesh complications.
During your deposition or trial, the defense will ask you about your general health and issues related to your hernia mesh.
An experienced lawyer can explain the lawsuit process and support you as your case proceeds through the stages.
Hernia Mesh Injuries Can Affect Your Quality of Life
When assessing the value of a hernia mesh case, the extent of the injury and other damages should be considered. When the hernia mesh is defective, or your surgeon made a mistake, severe health and financial issues can result, affecting your quality of life. These include:
- Corrective, significant surgeries to address your mesh complications
- Increased costs of medical bills
- Loss of wages due to time off work
You can also claim damages not related to your medical and financial expenses. These are known as non-economic damages and are more challenging to measure. They can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Absence of enjoyment
You may be able to receive financial compensation for past and future pain and suffering, lost and future wages, medical expenses like hospital bills or physical therapy.
Because of this, it is important to talk to your doctor about any complications or health issues you are experiencing after undergoing hernia mesh surgery. They can document your health issues, so you have evidence to prove that you experienced financial and emotional hardships when it’s time to file your hernia mesh claim. It is unlikely that you will receive compensation for complications caused by a delay in seeking medical care if you fail to follow up with your doctor after becoming aware of issues related to your hernia operation.
Hernia Mesh Cases Can Be Complex
Lawsuits for hernia mesh injuries can be more drawn out than other types of injury lawsuits. When you are suing for defective hernia mesh or medical malpractice during implant surgery, filing a hernia mesh lawsuit is complex. A medical malpractice lawsuit will require you to follow certain steps. You will need to produce your medical records and key witnesses to support your claim, which takes time.
The court’s calendar impacts a hernia mesh case’s timeline, with hearings and trials sometimes delayed by weeks or months. How long a hernia mesh lawsuit takes also depends on you. If the defendant offers you a settlement, you will almost certainly receive quicker payment by accepting, but it may not be adequate compensation for your suffering and financial loss.
Choose a Michigan lawyer with experience in hernia mesh cases. Putting your case in the hands of someone with extensive knowledge of this practice area means forming the strongest legal arguments and avoiding the pitfalls that might derail your case.
Work With a Hernia Mesh Lawyer
We understand how difficult it is when you are dealing with medical complications and seeking financial compensation simultaneously. Our skilled team of personal injury attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C. can ease the burden and support you through the claims process.
We will walk you through assigning liability from your hernia injury, handle gathering sufficient documentation and support for the claim, and help defend your case if it goes to trial.
A hernia mesh injury can affect so many aspects of your life. You may be able to receive compensation and hold your surgeon or manufacturer responsible for these complications. Call Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C. at 1-866-MICH-LAW for a confidential, free consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win a settlement in your case.
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.