Hernias are common conditions that occur when the muscles or connective tissue surrounding organs or fatty tissue weakens, allowing them to push through. The most common type of hernias are inguinal (near the groin); umbilical (belly button); hiatal (upper stomach), and; femoral (outer groin). These hernias allow the intestine or stomach to push through the weakened muscle and often cause pain and discomfort.
More than one million Americans undergo hernia surgery repair each year, and the FDA estimates that up to 90% of those surgeries used some form of hernia mesh. The mesh helps reinforce the damaged or weakened tissue, either by being placed over or under the damaged muscle, being used to plug a hole, or creating a custom-sized patch to fit the hernia’s unique shape. Depending on the manufacturer, hernia mesh is from a variety of materials, including polypropylene, polyester, Gore-Tex, or animal-derived tissue.
Unfortunately, injuries following insertion of a hernia mesh are also common – 33% of patients who undergo hernia mesh surgery experience chronic pain or other complications post-surgery. Complications may include adhesion, abdominal pain, bowel obstruction, perforation of organs or tissue, pain in the groin and/or testicles, or even a second surgery to repair the defective mesh.
So, it’s not surprising that many hernia mesh implants have been recalled, either by the Food and Drug Administration or voluntarily by the manufacturer, for being defective or potentially unsafe. If you’ve experienced complications following hernia mesh surgery, you may be entitled to compensation. The hernia mesh attorneys at The Good Law Group leverage 30 years of experience to evaluate hernia mesh cases to help clients receive a financial settlement for their injuries.
Below is the information we will need to help evaluate your case. If you don’t know the information off-hand, it should all be contained in your medical file. You can request a copy of medical records about your hernia mesh surgery, including any complications, from the surgeon and/or physician who treated you following surgery. We can help you obtain copies of your medical records if you don’t have them or have difficulty getting them.
What type of mesh was used?
Hernia mesh comes with different risks and potential complications depending on the type of mesh used and the manufacturer. Knowing what type of mesh was used can help us better determine whether you suffered a known complication or side effect.
Knowing what type of hernia mesh was used and who manufactured it also lets us check whether the mesh was recalled by either the FDA or the manufacturer. A recall – particularly a voluntary one – doesn’t automatically mean that the mesh was defective or that it was the reason for your injuries. For example, you could have been injured during hernia mesh surgery due to physician negligence, and not because the mesh itself was defective. But a recalled mesh product raises an immediate red flag that it was defective or could have caused your injury.
If the hernia mesh used in your surgery was not recalled, that doesn’t mean the manufacturer still cannot be liable. A product can still be responsible for your injuries even if it wasn’t recalled.
Who manufactured your hernia mesh?
Knowing the manufacturer of your hernia mesh is important not only to check for known risks, complications, and/or recalls, but to determine the potential defendant or defendants in the case. If it is determined that your injuries were caused by a defective product, it may be possible to recover damages not only from the manufacturer, but potentially the facility where it was made, the makers of any parts that went into the mesh, the distributors, and even the agencies that marketed the mesh. Knowing the manufacturer helps identify these other possible defendants.
What was the date of your surgery?
Knowing the exact date of your hernia mesh surgery is important if you want to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, supplier, and/or your physician due to your injuries. A vague “it was sometime in March 2019” is insufficient when filing a lawsuit. For one, it establishes the baseline requirement for a hernia mesh lawsuit, namely that you:
1) had hernia surgery;
2) received a mesh implant, and;
3) had complications that arose after the surgery date that were directly related to the hernia mesh.
But more importantly, knowing the exact date of your hernia surgery is important because it determines the deadline for filing your case. The law imposes strict deadlines, known as the statute of limitations, that dictate how long a person has to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Illinois, that period is two years from the date of injury.
The statute of limitations is, in most cases, fixed and unmovable. If you file your lawsuit even one day after the statute of limitations has expired, the court will dismiss your suit and you will not be permitted to pursue damages. It doesn’t matter if illness, injury, or even the weather prevented you from getting to the courthouse on time. Once the two-year period expires, you no longer have any legal recourse.
Courts sometimes make an exception, however, if your injury was incapable of being immediately detected. For example, it could take several months for a defective hernia mesh to migrate, shrink, or otherwise fail, and a few months after that for problems associated with the defective mesh to materialize. In these cases, the court will sometimes toll the statute of limitations. That means the two-year clock doesn’t begin to run until you become aware of, or should have become aware of, the injury.
Extending the statute of limitations period is not easy, however, and involves going to court and arguing your case before the judge. So, if you have any adverse reactions following hernia mesh surgery, it is best to reach out to an experienced hernia mesh attorney right away. Call The Good Law Group now: (847) 577-4476!