Hernia mesh implants are the most common method of hernia repair in the United States. Roughly one million hernia mesh repair surgeries are performed each year, and up to 90% of those surgeries involve some type of hernia mesh product.
Unfortunately, defective hernia mesh has caused many patients to experience chronic pain and other hernia mesh complications following surgery. The estimated failure rate for hernia mesh products ranges from 12% to 30%, which means that tens of thousands of patients suffer a hernia mesh injury each year. In some cases, these complications aren’t apparent until years after the surgery was performed.
As a result of these injuries, the FDA and hernia mesh manufacturers have recalled many products, and hernia mesh lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers in federal and state courts across the country. As of 2020, more than 8,000 hernia mesh lawsuits had been filed and are in various stages of litigation (the COVID-19 pandemic caused many proceedings to be put on hold), with even more expected.
If you experience chronic pain following hernia mesh surgery or suffered some other complication, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries provided you meet the minimum qualifications and can prove your injuries.
What causes hernia mesh complications?
A hernia occurs when the abdominal muscles weaken to the point that an organ – typically the intestines – can protrude through the weak spot. During hernia surgery, the protrusion is pushed back into place; hernia mesh is used to strengthen cover the weak spot, strengthen the abdominal wall, and prevent the hernia from happening again.
In the past hernia mesh was made from animal byproducts. While these mesh were safe and effective, it was not a permanent fix because the body tended to reabsorb it. This caused the abdominal wall to weaken again and the hernia to return, requiring additional surgery to repair it.
Searching for a more permanent solution, manufacturers of hernia mesh moved away from animal-derived products and instead used a synthetic coated plastic that was, like the animal-derived mesh, biologically compatible. While the new hernia mesh products were more permanent, they sometimes triggered an immune response in the body; other times, the mesh coating would degrade, which allowed it to attach to the surrounding organs or tissue.
Both the immune response and degradation of the hernia mesh caused many patients to experience chronic pain or serious complications. The most common hernia mesh complications include:
- Adhesion (scar tissue forms around and attaches the hernia mesh to surrounding organs or tissue).
- Abdominal infection or pain.
- Bowel obstruction.
- Perforation of organs or tissue.
- Migration of the mesh.
- Hernia recurrence.
These complications often required additional surgeries to repair the injury and/or repair and replace the hernia mesh or recurrence of the hernia.
Requirements for a hernia mesh lawsuit
If you’ve suffered a hernia mesh injury you may be entitled to financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, or other losses related to the surgery. Whether or not you are entitled to compensation depends in part on the extent of your injuries and whether you can prove that they were the result of receiving a defective hernia mesh.
At a minimum, to file a hernia mesh lawsuit you must initially be able to meet the following criteria:
- Had a hernia that was repaired with hernia mesh;
- Had hernia mesh surgery sometime between June 2008 and the present, and
- Developed injuries or complications because of the defective hernia mesh.
The majority of hernia mesh lawsuits are filed against four manufacturers: Atrium, Bard, Covidien, and Ethicon. Bard already paid $1.5 million to a single plaintiff in 2010, and then reached a $184 million settlement agreement with more than 2,000 other patients as part of multi-district litigation. However, if you suffered any injury caused by any hernia mesh product, regardless of the manufacturer, you may still be entitled to compensation.
Compensation for hernia mesh lawsuit
Plaintiffs in hernia mesh lawsuits may be entitled to three different types of damages: economic and non-economic damages (collectively known as “compensatory damages”) and punitive.
Economic damages have an actual dollar amount attached to them. These damages may include:
- Unpaid medical bills;
- Estimated cost of future medical bills uncovered by insurance;
- Past, present, and future lost wages, and;
- Future lost earning capacity.
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages do not have a concrete dollar amount. They are proven not by medical bills or salary information, but testimony from the plaintiff, their family, friends, and anybody else with information about how the hernia mesh injury affected their life. Non-economic damages may include losses related to:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium (loss of family relationship due to the injury, typically between spouses);
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Mental anguish, or;
- Permanent disabilities, impairment, or disfigurement.
Punitive damages are only awarded by a jury, which means if you reach a hernia mesh settlement your award will be limited to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for his actions and deter him from acting similarly in the future; in a hernia mesh injury case, the punishment would be for the manufacture and distribution of a defective product.
Compensation for hernia mesh surgery complications
How can you get compensation for your hernia mesh surgery injuries and complications? To find out, watch this short video.
Hernia mesh settlement amounts
The exact amount you may be entitled to receive for a hernia mesh injury varies and largely depends on the severity and extent of your injuries. The compensation amount also depends on whether it is awarded following a trial (in which case it may include punitive damages), or as part of a hernia mesh settlement, which typically results in a lower award and does not include punitive damages.
Analysis of prior hernia mesh lawsuit verdicts and hernia mesh settlements, however, indicate that plaintiffs can expect to receive anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million as compensation for their injuries.
The hernia mesh attorneys at The Good Law Group leverage their 30 years combined experience to help individuals who experienced a hernia mesh injury or complications receive financial compensation. We offer a free hernia mesh case evaluation to help determine whether you have a claim and, if we accept your case, there is no fee unless you are awarded damages. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.