How To Ensure You Receive FULL Monetary Compensation
Nationwide lawsuits alleging serious medical complications are being filed against the manufactures of hernia mesh patches. Parker Waichman LLP is a national personal injury law firm who has successfully represented clients injured or killed by dangerous or defective drugs and medical devices.
Manufacturers of medical devices like hernia mesh devices are obligated to produce medical devices that are as free from defects and dangers as is reasonably possible. Those dangerous properties and side effects that cannot be eliminated need to be brought to the attention of doctors and patients alike so that patients can make informed decisions regarding their health and wellbeing. Injuries – even life-threatening conditions and disorders – can occur if a hernia mesh manufacturer fails to live up to these simple, commonsense obligations.
Why Were Hernia Mesh Patches Manufactured?
Hundreds of thousands of hernia surgeries are performed every year in the United States, and the vast majority of these procedures are to address hernias that appear in the abdominal area. The most common types of hernias occur when part of an organ (such as the intestines) that is supposed to be contained within the abdominal cavity instead protrudes through a “weak spot” in the muscles and tissues that line the abdominal cavity.
In many of these surgical procedures, a hernia mesh device is implanted in the patient as a way of keeping the herniated organs in place and preventing additional hernias from reoccurring. The companies that develop and manufacture these common medical devices have largely represented to medical professionals and patients alike that their hernia mesh products are safe for use. Despite these assurances, however, numerous patients have reported significant – even severe – side effects and reactions as a result of their hernia mesh implants. This has resulted in patients experiencing substantial physical and mental pain along with incurring financial expenses related to additional corrective medical procedures.
What Are Hernia Mesh Devices Used For?
Hernia meshes are devices commonly used as part of a hernia repair surgery or procedure. Hernias occur when an organ (in whole or in part) or fatty tissue escapes through a weak point in the fascia, or surrounding muscle and/or tissue.
As explained more fully below, there are various types of hernias depending on where the hernia occurs: however, the signs and symptoms of the various types of hernias are similar:
- A “bulge”: In some hernias (especially inguinal hernias, or hernias occurring in the groin area), you may be able to feel a “bulge” in the area of the hernia. This “bulge” is actually the organ or fatty tissue itself, and the bulge will be located where the organ or fatty tissue has squeezed out from the surrounding muscle and/or tissue. Whether a bulge can be felt or not, you may also feel a feeling of “fullness” near the location of the hernia.
- Pain and/or “burning” sensation: In addition to a bulge or “full” feeling, many hernias are accompanied by a sharp pain or burning sensation. This pain and burning sensation is most commonly caused by inflammation in the affected area.
- Fever and nausea/vomiting: If a part of the intestine becomes herniated and blood supply is reduced or eliminated altogether, this can cause nausea and/or vomiting as well as a fever. If you experience these symptoms together with other signs and symptoms of a hernia, you may need immediate medical intervention and should proceed to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Types of Hernias
Hernias form in the groin and/or abdominal region and are classified according to the precise location at which the hernia occurs. The different types of hernias include:
- Inguinal hernias, which occur when either the intestine or the bladder escape into the inguinal canal in the groin region. Men are more prone to inguinal hernias than women because of inherent weaknesses in the muscles and tissues in this region. The vast majority – as many as 96 out of every 100 – of hernias in the groin region are inguinal hernias.
- Femoral hernias occur when the herniated intestine slips out of the abdominal cavity and enters the region containing the femoral artery (the artery carrying blood from the heart to the legs via the thighs). Femoral hernias are especially common in women who are pregnant and/or overweight.
- Incisional hernias are hernias that occur at the site of a previous abdominal incision, surgery, and/or procedure. Hernias are more likely to occur at these sites as an incision or medical procedure weakens the integrity of the abdominal muscles and tissues surrounding the intestines. If a patient does not exercise and strengthen his or her abdominal muscles following the surgery or procedure, this can lead to an increased risk of an incisional hernia.
- Umbilical hernias are often seen in newborns and occur when a portion of the intestine escapes the abdominal cavity through muscles and tissues near the navel. Usually, umbilical hernias do not cause any major health complications for the child but may nonetheless require monitoring to ensure no further problems develop. Umbilical hernias may also be present in women who have had multiple pregnancies.
What Are the Risk Factors Associated With Hernias?
Certain risk factors are associated with hernias. Specifically, you are more likely to develop a hernia if you:
- Are overweight or recently experienced a significant fluctuation in your weight;
- Do not exercise regularly, are out of shape, and/or do not eat a healthy diet;
- Have to strain during urination or when passing a bowel movement;
- Experience a chronic cough;
- Are male (males are more likely to experience inguinal hernias, one of the more common types of hernias);
- Are older (aging tends to lead to decreased muscle strength and tone; and/or
- Have had hernias in the past.
Treatment Options For Hernias
Once a hernia occurs, repairing the opening through which the organs and tissues passed and strengthening the surrounding muscles and tissues is a primary goal of any treatment. In nearly every case, surgery is necessary to repair the hernia. There are two main types of hernia repair surgeries: laparoscopic hernia repair and open surgery. Laparoscopic hernia repair surgeries involve making between two and four small incisions near the site of the hernia. A laparoscope (a medical device with a lens and light that helps the surgeon see the area) along with other surgical tools and hernia mesh are inserted through these incisions. The surgeon then operates on the hernia without making a large incision or cut into the abdomen. Open surgeries, by contrast, do require the surgeon to make an incision through the abdomen to open up the area near the hernia for operation. The surgeon uses conventional tools and procedures to then repair the site of the hernia, including inserting hernia mesh.
Do Hernia Repairs Relapse?
Hernias have a high rate of reoccurrence, meaning that even after a hernia has occurred and been repaired there is a good probability that you will experience another hernia at the same location as your previous hernia. In order to strengthen the site of the hernia, hernia mesh products are utilized in both laparoscopic and traditional, open hernia repair surgeries. As its name implies, hernia mesh is a mesh-like product that can be manufactured using synthetic or natural materials. The mesh is stapled or attached into place around the site of the hernia as a means of strengthening the surrounding muscle and tissue and acting to help contain the underlying organs and tissues and keep them from exiting the abdominal cavity again.
Hernia Mesh Complications, Side Effects and Symptoms of a Defective Hernia Mesh Device
When a quality hernia mesh product is utilized and implanted by a skilled surgeon, the patient can expect to initially feel some pain. However, as time goes on the pain should dissipate and the patient can expect to return to normal activities after the passage of some time. However, some individuals experience problems as a result of the implantation of hernia mesh.
The following signs and symptoms can suggest that there is something wrong with the hernia mesh:
- Pain that does not go away or lessen with the passage of time;
- Pain accompanied by a restriction in movement (i.e., you are not able to move in the same manner as you were before your surgery without significant or debilitating pain);
- Internal bleeding;
- Signs of infection near the surgery site, including a raised bump, a “hot” feeling on the skin near the site of the surgery, nausea and vomiting, fever, and/or discharge; and/or
- Being unable to have a bowel movement (which can suggest that organs have become entangled in the mesh. This can be a life-threatening emergency and requires prompt medical intervention).
Why Are People Filing Claims and Lawsuits Against Hernia Mesh Manufacturers?
Sometimes future medical problems develop at the site of the hernia repair surgery because of a lack of skill or care of the surgeon. For example, laparoscopic surgeries require a great deal of skill and experience in working with the laparoscope and other tools in order for the surgery to proceed successfully. Even in an open surgery, the surgeon may improperly attach the mesh to the surrounding abdominal muscles and tissue, causing the hernia mesh repair to fail. However, lawsuits have been filed over the past decade – and continue to be filed – against the manufacturers of hernia mesh products themselves.
Most of these lawsuits seek compensation for one or both of the following reasons:
- The hernia mesh used in their hernia repair surgeries was defective in that it utilized a defective design and/or inferior materials that were not sufficient to strengthen the muscles and tissues around the hernia site but instead made it more likely that the hernia would reoccur or that complications would arise such as the “strangulation” of organs and tissues that would become caught in the mesh; and/or
- The manufacturer of the hernia mesh did not adequately inform doctors and/or patients about the quality of the manufacturer’s mesh and/or the risks associated with use of its hernia mesh. In so doing, the manufacturer either intentionally or recklessly permitted doctors and patients to form a false belief about the safety and effectiveness of the hernia mesh. This, in turn, caused the injured patient and his or her doctor to use the hernia mesh under circumstances which had the doctor and/or patient had access to accurate information concerning the hernia mesh either one or both would have chosen to use another manufacturer’s hernia mesh.
Hernia mesh injury lawsuits can be a great tool by which you can recover compensation if your hernia mesh repair failed and as a result you had to miss work, undergo additional repair surgeries, experienced pain and mental anguish, and/or incurred additional losses, expenses, and/or injuries.
With years of experience in assisting hernia mesh injury victims, Parker Waichman LLP is committed to devoting its time, talents, and resources to helping you and your family navigate this difficult time and obtain the financial damages you need and to which you are entitled so that you can obtain the care you need without worrying about your and your family’s financial futures.
Do I Have Grounds for a Claim?
You may have a claim for compensation in the aftermath of a hernia mesh-related injury. This lawsuit would be against the manufacturer of the hernia mesh product that caused your injuries and/or any other person or entity that also contributed to your injury incident (such as a doctor who pushed you into agreeing to the implantation of the hernia mesh device that caused your injuries and losses). If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover a monetary compensation award that addresses any losses and expenses you incurred as a result of the defective hernia mesh.
This recovery is possible because of legal obligations that are imposed on the manufacturers of products like hernia mesh devices. In general, the manufacturers of hernia mesh devices like Maquet and Ethico (among others) must create products that are as free from defects and dangers as possible. In other words, manufacturers of hernia mesh devices and products are supposed to make products that will function as intended and advertised. If the product does contain any dangers or risks, the manufacturer is supposed to notify patients and others may use the hernia mesh so that patients can decide for themselves whether they wish to use the hernia mesh product or seek out other treatment options.
There are three major types of defects, any one or more of which may be present in any hernia mesh product:
- Design defects exist when the blueprints or design of a product is such that any product made according to that design or blueprint will be dangerous to the patient. For example, a hernia mesh product that utilizes materials that are not able to withstand the pressure found in the abdominal cavity or other locations of hernias during normal activity and therefore has a high rate of failure may have a design defect. If a design defect exists, then all hernia mesh products that are manufactured according to that design will be defective and dangerous.
- Manufacturing defects exist when a hernia mesh product is not produced according to the product’s design plans and the end result is a dangerous product. Using the example above, a manufacturing defect would exist if the plans for a specific hernia mesh product required the use of a certain type of material but during the manufacturing process a different, weaker material was used instead and this led to a failure of the device and your injuries.
- Warning defects are present whenever a manufacturer fails to provide adequate and clear warnings to consumers, patients, and/or users about the known dangers of the product. Warning defects may exist even if “warning language” is placed on the product but is placed in an inconspicuous way or place such that a consumer is not likely to discover the language. A warning defect also exists if such warning language is missing altogether. This also covers instances where the manufacturer deliberately misleads doctors and/or patients about the hernia mesh’s safety or reliability in order to induce them to use the hernia mesh product.
The Three Essential Elements For Building a Case To Receive Full Compensation
A hernia mesh manufacturer’s liability for your injuries centers on three essential elements: causation, reasonableness, and injuries or losses:
First, evidence (including medical records, expert reports, and the testimony of witnesses) must be able to establish a causal relationship between the injuries you suffered and the hernia mesh. In general terms, a causal relationship exists if the injuries and losses you suffered – a reoccurrence of your hernia and the accompanying medical bills, for example – would not have happened had the specific mesh used in your hernia repair surgery been used. If your injury, loss, or expense would have occurred regardless of the mesh product utilized in your surgery, then the manufacturer may not be responsible and you may not have a legal claim for compensation against the manufacturer.
For example, suppose that you undergo a hernia repair surgery and, as part of the repair surgery, hernia mesh manufactured by Ethico is utilized to help repair the hole and prevent a future hernia from occurring at the same site. If Ethico’s hernia mesh is made from an inferior material and it fails at a time when a properly-constructed mesh would have held, causing a reoccurrence of the hernia, then Ethico may be held responsible for the additional medical costs, time missed from work, and other expenses you incurred as a result of the hernia’s reoccurrence. Conversely, if your hernia reoccurs because your surgeon improperly implanted your hernia mesh then it may be your doctor – not the manufacturer – who is responsible for your injuries and/or losses. Causation may be found if deliberate misrepresentations about the hernia mesh’s safety and reliability are made by the manufacturer in order to get you and/or your doctor to use that specific hernia mesh product and the hernia mesh subsequently fails to live up to its expectations.
The next element – reasonableness – refers to the measures the manufacturer took to prevent your injury and other similar injuries. You may not be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries from the manufacturer of your hernia mesh if a judge or jury finds that the manufacturer took reasonable and appropriate steps to prevent the hernia mesh from having one or more defects and to prevent these defect(s) from causing injuries to you and others. Because hernia mesh devices are complicated, because defects in these devices are not always readily apparent to the untrained eye, and because many hernia patients do not have an opportunity to inspect the hernia mesh that will be implanted, this standard of “reasonableness” or definition of “reasonable conduct” requires manufacturers to conduct business in a careful and safe manner. Almost invariably, evidence that a manufacturer was utilizing substandard materials in its hernia mesh products and/or making boastful, and deceptive claims would be considered unreasonable conduct that would expose the manufacturer to legal liability.
Injuries or Losses
Finally, you must have actually suffered some injury, loss, or expense – even mental pain, anguish, suffering, and/or loss of enjoyment of life. If you did not suffer an injury of some type, then there is little that a court can do in your lawsuit to fully and fairly compensate you (because, without an injury or loss, you do not need to be “made whole” from a legal perspective). While the types of compensable injuries and losses in a hernia mesh lawsuit can vary, each must be supported by some evidence that establishes the dollar amount of the loss or injury. If you incurred additional medical expenses and surgical costs, for instance, a bill, invoice, or insurance statement can be used to establish the amount of loss you sustained. If you are claiming compensation for mental pain and anguish, your own testimony and the testimony of your friends and relatives can be used to establish the amount of compensation that is appropriate for these intangible losses.
The Statute of Limitations on Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
After you have suffered an injury or adverse medical event as a result of your hernia mesh device, you only have a limited amount of time to take legal action. Each state has passed a statute of limitations that details how long a hernia mesh injury victim has in which to file a claim for compensation. Each state has a different statute of limitations: in some states, the statute of limitations may be as long as four years. In other states, the statute of limitations may only give a hernia mesh injury victim one year from the date of his or her hernia repair surgery and/or when he or she suffered a hernia mesh-related injury to file his or her lawsuit. The statute of limitations is met when a hernia mesh lawsuit is initiated within the timeframe provided by the statute.
For example, suppose that you live in a state with a two-year statute of limitations and are injured by your hernia mesh on January 1, 2018. Under the laws of your state, you would have until January 1, 2020 to file your lawsuit with the court and attempt to obtain service on the defendant (i.e., have the defendant served with a copy of your lawsuit’s complaint or petition). Talking with an attorney before the statute of limitations expires does not satisfy the statute of limitations: it would be immaterial for statute of limitations purposes if you were to visit a lawyer about your legal rights before January 1, 2020 or even if you decided with your lawyer to file a hernia mesh lawsuit at some point in the future.
Missing Important Deadlines on Hernia Mesh Claims is Detrimental to Your Ability to Collect a Money Award
The consequences of violating the statute of limitations are harsh, and the exceptions to the statute of limitations are few. If you do file a hernia mesh lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the hernia mesh manufacturer and/or any other named defendants in your lawsuit may move to have your case dismissed without any consideration of the merits of your lawsuit and without you receiving any compensation whatsoever. In other words, if you violate the statute of limitations, your lawsuit can be dismissed (and you would receive no compensation) even if the evidence supporting your claims is strong and/or the extent of your injuries is significant.
The Discovery Rule in Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
All this being said, the “discovery rule” may permit you to file your hernia mesh lawsuit even if the statute of limitations has already run. The main purpose of the statute of limitations is to prevent “stale” lawsuits – lawsuits and claims for which finding evidence and witnesses to support or refute the lawsuits’ claims – has become difficult due to the passage of time. States’ statute of limitations are intended to discourage injury victims from “sitting on their rights” for unnecessary periods of time. However, when a hernia mesh injury victim (or any other type of injury victim) does not know that he or she has any legal recourse because he or she does not know he or she has been injured, the concerns addressed by the statute of limitations do not seem to come into play. In these specific situations, the “discovery rule” acts to provide injury victims with additional time within which to file their lawsuit. Under this legal rule, the statute of limitations period “does not begin to run until the victim ‘knew or reasonably should have known’ that he or she sustained a compensable injury.”
While this does not permit the injury victim to ignore obvious symptoms of a hernia mesh injury, it does give extra time to the victim who may not have an immediate reason to suspect that his or her hernia mesh has a defect and that he or she has been injured by that defective mesh. For example, if you have a hernia repair surgery in January of 2018 and do not begin to notice symptoms suggesting your hernia mesh is defective until June of 2018, the statute of limitations in most states will not begin to run until June of 2018. If you live in a state where hernia mesh injury lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations of two years (for instance), you would have until June of 2020 to initiate your lawsuit.
Process of a Filing Hernia Mesh Injury Claim, Case or Lawsuit
It is important to understand that your hernia mesh personal injury case is unique to you – even if thousands upon thousands of lawsuits are filed based upon hernia mesh-related injuries sustained by others, there are aspects about your lawsuit – its duration and the manner in which it resolves, for example – that will be different from other similar lawsuits. This being said, the stages of litigation through which your claim passes will be nearly identical to the stages other lawsuits must also pass through. Your hernia mesh injury lawsuit attorney will ensure you understand these stages and what to expect as your lawsuit progresses from one stage to the next: however, becoming familiar with these stages before your lawsuit is filed can help you form realistic expectations about the duration of your case.
- Investigation of your claim: Before a lawsuit is filed on your behalf, it must be determined with some degree of certainty that you have a valid and sustainable claim for compensation. (If not, not only would you waste valuable time and resources in retaining an attorney to file a lawsuit for you, but the attorney him- or herself could face judicially-imposed sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit.) Even if the evidence and/or witness testimony available in your case is sufficient to file a claim, you and your attorney may determine that the persuasive power of the evidence makes it unlikely you will prevail. In such a situation, you and your attorney may discuss other methods of resolving your claim and/or obtaining compensation.
- Initial pleadings: If you and your attorney decide to proceed, your lawsuit will commence with the filing of an initial pleading (called a complaint or petition, depending upon your jurisdiction) and having a copy of this document served – that is, delivered – on the manufacturer of your hernia mesh and any other defendant responsible in part for your injuries. Once served with a copy of your petition or complaint, the defendant(s) have an opportunity to file an answer to the allegations in your complaint and/or assert certain defenses to your claim (by claiming, for example, that the court in which you filed your case lacks jurisdiction over your claim). Depending on the nature of any defenses raised by the defendant(s), initial hearings may be held to determine if your claim can proceed.
- Dispositive motions: At this initial stage of litigation, there may be additional motions filed by you and/or the defendant(s). These motions are appropriate and likely filed whenever there is no real disagreement between the parties as to the facts of your hernia mesh injury and the law is clear that either you or the defendant(s) are entitled to a favorable judgment. If you or the defendant(s) are successful in obtaining a favorable judgment at this stage, then your claim is generally finished except that the losing party may retain the right to appeal the judgment to the next higher court.
- Discovery: If your case has not yet been resolved through a judgment or settlement, your claim will next enter the discovery phase. It is during this phase of litigation that you and the defendant(s) will exchange information and evidence with one another. This includes evidence, records, and/or exhibits you intend to present at trial along with lay witnesses and/or expert witnesses you intend to call to help support your claim for compensation. The purpose of the discovery phase is to enable each party to have a reasonable opportunity to prepare their case with an understanding of the claims and assertions that will be made by the other party or parties. Discovery is also meant to encourage a prompt resolution of the dispute: by knowing the relative strength of their own assertions and claims and those of the other party, discovery can encourage a party with a weak claim to settle quickly. For example, if the manufacturer of the hernia mesh in your injury lawsuit sees that your claim for compensation is well-documents and supported by credible witness testimony and objective evidence, the manufacturer may be more willing to reach a settlement with you as opposed to proceeding to trial. Conversely, if the evidence supporting your claim is weak, it may be you who is seeking a settlement or other out-of-court resolution to your dispute.
- Pretrial: Once discovery has been completed (or mostly completed), the basic facts of the dispute should be known. If these facts establish that one party or the other in your dispute is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, a motion requesting such may be filed at this time. This is a severe result, and to help prevent cases from being unnecessarily resolved in this manner courts must view the evidence and facts in the light most favorable to the adverse party (i.e., not the party who filed for judgment at this stage). If such motions are not successful, the pretrial stage is then used to determine the “rules” by which the trial of the matter will be conducted. This includes the length of the trial as well as what evidence and exhibits will be admitted – and which exhibits will be kept out of trial.
- Trial: If the case cannot be resolved in some other matter, the case will proceed to trial where a judge and/or jury will determine the rights of each party. In a hernia mesh lawsuit, the “factfinder” (either the judge or jury) can decide to award you the full amount of compensation you request, a partial amount of compensation (if, for example, the jury believes you were partially responsible for causing your injuries and losses by failing to promptly see a doctor once symptoms of a hernia mesh injury began to appear), or the jury may decide to award you no compensation at all.
- Appeals: The party that loses at trial may have the right to appeal the decision to an appellate court. The appellate court generally does not conduct a new trial of the matter but will instead look at the transcripts of the proceedings along with those exhibits admitted into evidence and determine if the trial court made any errors of law in conducting the trial. This could include, for instance, erroneously admitting an exhibit that should have been kept out of trial or applying the wrong legal standard to the case. Appellate courts will not usually reverse a trial court verdict unless there is an error so egregious that the outcome of the trial was clearly incorrect or the error may have impacted the outcome of the trial.
Hernia Mesh Settlements
At any point during this process you and the manufacturer of the hernia mesh that caused your injuries may settle. There are a variety of reasons why parties in a hernia mesh lawsuit may desire to pursue a settlement: the evidence and anticipated testimony of the opposing party’s witnesses may appear to make a party’s own chances of prevailing slim, or one party may believe that the costs of litigating the hernia mesh lawsuit will be too great. In a typical settlement agreement, the hernia mesh manufacturer would agree to pay you a certain sum of compensation in exchange for your giving up of your right to pursue additional legal claims against the manufacturer and a stipulation or agreement that by accepting the offered compensation the manufacturer is not required to admit any fault or responsibility in causing your injuries. Ultimately, you decide whether to initiate settlement negotiations and whether to accept a settlement offer made by the other party.
Hernia Mesh Injury Claim FAQs
Suffering harm as the result of a hernia mesh injury accident can easily leave you feeling vulnerable and confused. You may even feel as if you do not know where or to whom you can turn for help and guidance or what questions you should ask your attorney. Even though a hernia mesh injury is traumatic and is unlike any other experience you may have had in the past, you are not alone. Many others have been injured by hernia mesh implants as well, and their experiences – as well as the questions they have asked – can help inform you:
What manufacturers of hernia mesh devises are affected by lawsuits?
There have been several brands of hernia mesh that have been reported as having problems or causing injuries to patients following implantation. Some of the brands which have had problems reported with them include: (1) C-Qur, a mesh manufactured by Maquet in 2006; (2) Physiomesh, which is manufactured by Ethico, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson; (3) Proceed, also a product of Ethicon and which was recalled in 2005; and (4) C.R. Bard products such as Kugel, Sepramesh, 3DMax, and PerFix. However, having had one of these brands implanted is not a prerequisite to having a viable hernia mesh injury claim. In truth, if you suffered injuries, losses, or harmful outcomes after a hernia mesh was implanted (regardless of the brand or manufacturer), you may be able to file a claim and obtain compensation. Your ability to file a hernia mesh lawsuit to seek full compensation for hernia mesh related injuries is not limited based upon the brand or manufacturer of your hernia mesh.
Have hernia mesh lawsuits been successful in the past and upon what grounds?
Over the past ten years, numerous hernia mesh injury lawsuits have been filed and other hernia mesh injury victims have been successful in obtaining compensation. Successful hernia mesh lawsuits filed against hernia mesh manufacturers have centered on claims that either the hernia mesh in question was not marketed in a truthful manner and/or that the mesh was constructed in such a way that it posed a danger to any patient in whom the mesh was implanted. The primary legal principle supporting these claims is this: the manufacturer of a product that is sold, marketed, or distributed to others has an affirmative obligation to ensure its product is free from obvious and easily-fixable defects, is safe for the use or uses for which it is advertised, and contains sufficiently-clear warnings advising users of the product of the dangers and risks associated with the product’s use.
What compensation may I be able to recover?
In a successful hernia mesh lawsuit, you are able to recover compensation for any losses that are attributable to the defective hernia mesh. This includes both economic damages – losses for which there is a receipt, invoice, or that can otherwise be easily determined, quantified, and expressed in a dollar figure – and noneconomic damages to cover losses such as mental pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Examples of economic damages that you may be able to recover in a hernia mesh lawsuit include: (1) the cost of additional medical care, treatment, and surgeries to repair the harm done by the defective mesh; (2) the cost of the defective hernia mesh itself; (3) time missed from work; (4) reductions in your income if you are temporarily or permanently unable to return to your former employment temporarily or permanently; and/or (5) home healthcare costs if applicable. Before you are able to receive any sort of compensation whatsoever, however, a judge or jury will need to find that the loss was caused by the defective hernia mesh (that is, that there is a causal connection between the defective mesh and your loss) and that the amount of compensation you requested is appropriate under the circumstances.
Do I need an expert opinion? Can’t I just “tell my story” and get compensation?
Many injury victims in hernia mesh injury cases as well as other personal injury lawsuits often wonder why they must spend resources on retaining expert witnesses and locating witnesses with knowledge about their claim. They believe (and understandably so) that their injuries and proof of the expenses they incurred should be sufficient to entitle them to compensation. However, in medical injury cases such as hernia mesh lawsuits, the testimony of one or more experts who are familiar with hernia mesh injuries and who have reviewed your records is often necessary to provide a judge or jury with credible information and opinions that make it appear more likely than not that your hernia mesh is to blame for your injuries.
I have an upcoming hernia surgery – is there anything I should ask my doctor ahead of time?
If you have not done so already, schedule a time to speak with your doctor or surgeon who will be performing your repair surgery and obtain as much information as you can. Learn the type of hernia you have and its possible cause or causes. Discuss your doctor’s plans for repairing the hernia and whether these plans involve the use of hernia mesh. If you have concerns about whether the mesh to be used is made from synthetic or natural materials, make sure your doctor is aware of these concerns. If your doctor is planning on using mesh made by a manufacturer that has had complaints filed against it for adverse side effects, discuss with your doctor alternative brands of mesh or alternative procedures that may reduce the likelihood that you would experience negative side effects.
What should I do if I had a hernia mesh implanted and begin experiencing adverse symptoms?
It is imperative that you become informed about your health and aware of any unusual signs or symptoms, especially following a hernia surgery. Learn from your surgeon or doctor whether hernia mesh was used to repair your hernia. If so (and chances are good that hernia mesh was indeed used to repair the hole or opening through which your organs and/or tissues escaped), learn the brand of the mesh used. Become familiar with the signs and symptoms of hernia mesh injuries (such as constipation, fever, and severe pain near the site of the surgery and implantation) and report negative side effects or symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible. Remember to follow your doctor’s orders (including any recommendations regarding exercising or activity limitations) and take any prescription medications as prescribed.
Who else may be responsible for my injuries besides the hernia mesh’s manufacturer?
Part of the reason why it is important to retain experienced and knowledgeable counsel in the case of a hernia mesh injury is to help ensure the negligent or reckless parties whose behavior actually caused your injuries are held to account. In some cases, the hernia mesh itself may not be defective but it may have been implanted improperly. In such a case, the doctor or surgeon who implanted the device may be legally responsible for your injuries. Similarly, your doctor may be responsible if he or she did not make an effort to answer any questions or reservations you had about the use of hernia mesh and instead forced you into an open hernia repair surgery without your informed consent. If the proper party or parties are not identified and sued, you may miss out on your opportunity to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries.
How Can a Hernia Mesh Injury Lawyer Help Me?
The frequency with which hernia repair surgeries utilizing hernia mesh are conducted can lull you and other hernia mesh injury victims into believing that recovering full and fair monetary damages for your injuries is simple and straightforward. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in any hernia mesh injury lawsuit there are numerous critical junctures during your lawsuit that can result in your compensation award being reduced or your claim being dismissed outright. Your experienced and knowledgeable hernia mesh attorney from Parker Waichman LLP is able to assist you in avoiding these unfortunate and financially-devastating outcomes:
Investigating and gathering supporting evidence for your claim:
Depending on the specific laws of the state in which your hernia mesh lawsuit is filed, you may need to clear certain evidentiary thresholds before your case may proceed to trial. In order to meet these evidentiary burdens, you may be required to present the sworn statements and reports of one or more medical experts who have examined your claim and attest that the claim appears legitimate. Many hernia mesh injury victims, however, do not have the time and/or resources to locate and retain these requisite experts. Likewise, hernia mesh injury victims often feel uncomfortable and ill-equipped to locate and secure their medical records and other important documents related to their hernia mesh injuries. By choosing a hernia mesh injury law firm with years of successful experience, you are also gaining that firm’s contacts and connections – including connections with experts and others who can evaluate your claim and assist in presenting your case.
Preparing and filing legal pleadings, motions, and replies:
Dozens (if not more) of legal documents and pleadings will need to be filed over the course of your hernia mesh lawsuit. These include not only the initial pleading in which your claim (and the facts and legal authorities supporting it) are expounded but also motions to compel or preserve evidence, to take depositions, to impose sanctions on an uncooperative defendant or third party. Not only must these and other pleadings, motions, and documents be prepared and formatted in conformity with your local jurisdiction’s rules and governing laws, but they must be presented in a timely and appropriate manner to the court. In the context of a hernia mesh injury lawsuit, filing an improperly-formatted document can have as serious of consequences as filing a properly-formatted document at the inappropriate time.
Responding to discovery requests:
During the course of your lawsuit the legal team representing the hernia mesh manufacturer will likely request documents and answers to questions as part of the discovery process. You may even be ordered to appear for a deposition (that is, answer questions under oath in a setting where the questions being put to you as well as your answers can be transcribed). In most cases, you must comply with discovery requests – that is, requests for depositions and production of evidence – that are timely and properly served upon you and/or your attorney. However, there may be certain requests for discovery that do not need to be turned over, such as requests for:
- Information concerning private conversations between you and your attorney;
- Conversations you had with your doctor for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment; and/or
- Other privileged and/or confidential information.
Your attorney will assist you in properly responding to lawful requests for discovery and preventing the other party while ensuring that confidential and/or legally-privileged information is not turned over to the other party. This, in turn, helps ensure that your legal obligations are fulfilled and that the other party does not gain an unfair advantage by accessing privileged, confidential information.
Advocacy in court and out of court:
One of the chief benefits of retaining a hernia mesh injury attorney is having access to someone with considerable skill in presenting legal claims for compensation to a judge and/or jury. Legal advocacy is much more than simply telling a judge or jury your “story” – it is telling your story in such a way that the person or people deciding your claim clearly see how your story and the applicable laws and statutes entitle you to compensation and legal relief. In addition, therefore, to the ability to tell a compelling story, your attorney has (or should have) the ability to clearly explain the controlling legal principles at issue in your case and how the facts of your case satisfy the legal requirements necessary for you to be awarded compensation.
Knowledgeable guidance at critical junctures in your case:
No two hernia mesh injury lawsuits are alike. Even if you and another injury victim have been hurt by a mesh device manufactured by the same manufacturer, your paths to a full and fair recovery can be markedly different. For example, a settlement offer may be made in your case and not in another victim’s case, or it may make sense to pursue a compromised settlement agreement in your injury case but not in another victim’s case. Your attorney can provide you with the guidance and direction necessary for you to make informed decisions about your legal rights and how your compensation claim ought to proceed. This can help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation possible, as quickly as possible.
How Can Parker Waichman LLP
In much the same way that a skilled sailor at the helm can safely guide a ship into harbor or a steady-handed pilot can take an aircraft from takeoff to landing without incident, so too the experienced and talented team of legal professionals at Parker Waichman LLP can help ensure your hernia mesh injury claim advances steadily toward a successful conclusion. Your attorney will complete the tasks necessary for you to recover monetary damages on your behalf so that you are free to remain focused on regaining your health, your mobility, and your quality of life – as well as that of your family – following your hernia mesh injury.
Talk With One of Our Hernia Mesh Injury Attorneys Today
A hernia can be a painful experience – your hernia repair surgery (whether laparoscopic or open surgery) should ease your pain and suffering, not compound it. While hernia mesh devices and products are a common – even essential – part of hernia repair surgeries, not all hernia mesh products are created equally.
Some manufacturers of hernia mesh have deliberately used inferior materials for their hernia mesh in an effort to save money at the expense of the health and safety of patients. What is more concerning is that some of these manufacturers have allegedly marketed their hernia mesh in a deceptive way, making boasts about their products’ safety and reliability while downplaying or even concealing the significant risks and dangers that their products posed.
As a result, you and many others like you may have experienced a failure of your hernia mesh, an infection, internal bleeding, or a recurrence of your hernia. Any one of these events, in turn, can result in the need for additional (perhaps even emergency) care and require you to miss work, obtain additional or alternative employment, and/or become accustomed to limitations in your abilities and your way of life.
Why Choose Parker Waichman to Represent You
As your hernia mesh injury law firm, Parker Waichman LLP is well-versed and knowledgeable in the laws and legal principles applicable in hernia mesh injury cases. We will utilize our firm’s skills to maximize your opportunity to receive full and complete compensation for your injuries and losses. At Parker Waichman LLP, we are proud of our firm’s winning tradition and are not afraid to fight the tough fights. Do not be intimidated by the “big name” manufacturers of hernia mesh: with us by your side at every step, you can stand confident knowing your legal rights are being protected by a passionate, zealous firm that is dedicated to seeing to it that you are made whole.
Parker Waichman LLP is a Highly-Recognized National Plaintiff Personal Injury Law Firm
Turn to Parker Waichman LLP and our team of dedicated and professional attorneys and legal staff if you or a family member has suffered an adverse medical event or injury after having had hernia mesh implanted. Financial compensation may be available to you and your family if you incurred additional medical bills and expenses, are not able to return to work immediately (if ever), and/or experience mental pain, anguish, and suffering. Parker Waichman LLP has both the experience and dedication to assist you in obtaining fair compensation for your losses. Our firm has a winning track record of success: Parker Waichman LLP has:
- Recovered over $2 billion in verdicts and settlement awards for our clients;
- Achieved the prestigious “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®;
- Obtained “5 Dragons” rating by Lawdragon – its highest rating – based upon peer review.
When you retain Parker Waichman LLP to assist you with your defective hernia mesh lawsuit, you can rest assured that the same focus, resources, and knowledge that we have used to succeed and build our firm’s reputation will be brought to bear on your case.
Free, Confidential Hernia Mesh Medical/Legal Evaluation
The process of recovering compensation for your hernia mesh injuries and losses begins by contacting Parker Waichman LLP to discuss your injuries and your precise legal rights. You can easily reach our law firm by dialing 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
Our legal team will work to understand the facts and circumstances surrounding your hernia mesh-related injuries and inform you of what rights to compensation you have as well as how our legal team can help you realize this compensation. Your financial future and the future of your family is too important to risk by handling your hernia mesh claim yourself or, worse, failing to take prompt and decisive action to protect your legal rights.
Take action today and change your future for the better: contact Parker Waichman LLP right away at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
Update: Hernia Mesh Litigation – Recent Developments
What Is the Hernia Mesh Litigation?
When a tissue or organ moves so that it protrudes through a cavity wall, the condition is referred to as a hernia. Hernias are common medical conditions that can impact individuals of all ages. When surgeons repair a hernia, they routinely implant a small, flexible mesh at the site to repair and strengthen the area, but many people experience significant adverse side effects following implantation with faulty hernia mesh. Many of these hernia mesh products are manufactured by large pharmaceutical corporations that place a priority of profits over patient safety. If you have experienced injury after implantation of a mesh product manufactured by Bard, Ethicon, Atrium, or Covidien/Medtronic (formerly Tyco), you might have a right to seek compensation.
Hernia Mesh Injuries
Hernia mesh injuries that have been reported after surgery using certain mesh products include:
- Reoccurrence of a hernia
- Conditions related to shrinking or contraction of mesh
- Severe allergic reactions
- Serious infections
- Perforation of organs
- Need for revisionary surgery
- Chronic pain
- Conditions related to migration and erosion of the mesh
- Severe allergic reactions
- Foreign body reactions
- Bowel obstruction
Individuals who have suffered side effects or complications associated with the implantation of hernia mesh might require revisionary surgery to remove the faulty mesh and to repair any damage. This follow-up surgery can be far more complex than the original implantation. The revisionary surgery also might not resolve the issue and side effects.
Bard Hernia Mesh MDL 2946
The Bard Hernia Mesh MDL (MDL 2846) was recently launched and assigned to the Southern District of Ohio with Chief Judge Edmond Sargus, Jr assigned to hear the matter. Because Bard controls approximately 70 percent of the U.S. hernia mesh implant market, the case could establish a new threshold as the largest single-defendant multidistrict litigation (MDL) matter ever consolidated. The MDL includes 15,604 cases (12,029 that had been closed) as of September 2018. Our law firm currently is reviewing potential lawsuits involving the following Bard mesh products.
- PerFix Plug & PerFix Light Plug: These devices have been reported to erode and migrate in the body. Lawsuit documents indicate this deterioration has led to organ perforation, loss of testicles, and severe pain.
- 3DMax Mesh & 3DMax Light Mesh: This hernia patch is made of heavyweight polypropylene mesh (a lightweight version also exists). Lawsuits have been filed by patients across the U.S. alleging debilitating pain after implantation of these products. Plaintiffs have filed lawsuits based on the devices eroding through soft tissue before becoming attached to the spermatic cord, which can lead to loss of the testicle upon removal of the mesh. The device is curved because it is designed to be implanted without tacks or sutures. However, instances of the device folding over and migrating have been reported. Reports also have been made indicating the outer seal of the device has torn.
- Composix Kugel Hernia Patch: Composix Kugal hernia mesh is one of the earliest and most widely known hernia mesh products to be recalled. Multiple lots of the C.R. Bard medical device were recalled in 2005, 2006, and 2007. This product was constructed with a ring in the center of the mesh so that the mesh would keep its shape. However, the rings tended to break causing bowel perforation.
- Ventralex ST Patch, Ventrio ST & Ventralight ST: Bard’s coated hernia mesh line is referred to as ST hernia mesh. The company acquired rights to Sepramesh and Sepra Technology (ST) from Genzyme in 2007. The ST product line has been associated with elevated rates of seromas, bowel obstructions, infections, bowel resections, and dense adhesions.
- Sepramesh IP
- Bard Mesh
- Composix, Composix E/X, Composix L/P
- Bard (Marlex) Mesh Dart
- Kugal Hernia Patch
- Ventrio Patch
- Modified Kugel Hernia Patch
- Ventralex Hernia Patch
Ethicon Hernia Mesh Lawsuits (Johnson & Johnson)
Lawsuits involving Ethicon, Inc.’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh were consolidated in a Northern District of Georgia multi-district litigation (MDL). Lawsuits allege that the product was defectively designed, manufactured, and labeled by Ethicon and/or Johnson & Johnson according to the court case summary. The MDL included 1,430 cases as of September 2018. Parker Waichman LLP is currently reviewing cases involving the following Ethicon products:
- Proceed Ventral Patch & Proceed Surgical Mesh: These hernia mesh products are made with an oxidized regenerated cellulose (ORC) fabric that covers the polypropylene. Polydioxanone is utilized to bind the two components together. Ethicon has implemented limited recalls on Proceed hernia mesh because of the ORC separating from the polypropylene resulting in an elevated risk of bowel complications. Despite hundreds of reports of adverse events reported to the FDA, the product remains on the market.
- Physiomesh: Ethicon voluntarily withdrew this form of mesh from the market in 2015. Although Ethicon has denied the action amounted to a recall, several studies have shown this composite hernia mesh product had a high complication rate. Many patients have needed follow-up surgeries. Lawsuits filed in the MDL allege that the mesh cannot hold up to normal abdominal forces and that the multi-layered coating excessively inhibited incorporation of the mesh.
- Prolene Hernia System & Prolene 3D: The Prolene Hernia System resembles polypropylene mesh plugs with a polypropylene inlay. The device has evolved from Bard’s Perfix plug, and this type of mesh has prompted adverse event reports with complications comparable to the Perfix plug. The mesh utilizes heavyweight polypropylene (a lightweight version has also been released). Patients implanted with the Prolene Hernia System have experienced sexual dysfunction, disabling pain, and nerve damage.
Atrium Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Complaints filed in the multi-district litigation (MDL) in the District of New Hampshire against Atrium for their C-Qur products alleges that implanted patients have suffered allergic reactions and severe infections necessitating revisionary surgery. Court documents allege that the problems with this product are related to its use of fish oil to coat the device. The MDL included over 750 active cases as of September 13, 2018. We are currently accepting cases involving the following Atrium hernia mesh products:
- C-Qur TacShield
- C-Qur Lite Mesh V-Patch
- C-Qur Edge
- C-Qur Mesh V-Patch
- C-Qur Mosaic
Covidien/Medtronic (Formerly Tyco)
Parietex hernia patch products have experienced injury and infection necessitating more serious and painful corrective surgery than the original implant process. Covidien attempted to distinguish its product from those produced by other hernia mesh manufacturers by using polyester rather than polypropylene. Surgeons found that the polyester mesh was more challenging to handle during surgical implantation. The company responded by adding a collagen film to a modified product called Parietex Composite. The modification made the product easier for surgeons to implant through laparoscopic surgery, but the collagen degraded quickly and exposed organs to bare polyester. Reports of dense adhesions and infections were made following implantation of Parietex Composite mesh. The mesh also tends to contract after implantation causing the polyester fibers to rip on the securing sutures and tacks. This can cause the patients to re-herniate or the mesh material to ball up. We are reviewing cases involving the following Covidien/Medtronic products:
- Parietex Lightweight Monofilament Mesh
- Parietex Plug and Patch System
- Parietex Flat Sheet Mesh
- Parietex Optimized Composite Mesh
- Parietex Hydrophilic Anatomical Mesh
- Parietex Composite Open Skirt (PCO OS) Mesh
- Parietex Composite Ventral Patch
- Parietex Composite Hiatal Mesh (PCO 2H)
- Parietex Folding Mesh
- Parietex Composite Parastomal (PCO PM) Mesh
- Parietex ProGrip Self-Fixating Mesh
If you have been harmed by a hernia mesh product, our lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP know that you might have questions about your right to financial compensation. Our law firm offers a free case evaluation so that we can evaluate your potential lawsuit. Call Parker Waichman LLP at 1-800-Your Lawyer (1-800-968-7529) today.
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