One of the first questions a person who has filed, or is considering filing, a hernia mesh lawsuit usually asks is: How much is my hernia mesh case worth, and how long will it take to get compensated for my injuries? Based on evaluations of prior hernia mesh lawsuit settlements and verdicts, plaintiffs (the person who files the lawsuit) can expect to receive somewhere between $500,000 to $1 million as compensation for their injuries.
But it’s important to point out that this number is an average. Numerous factors can affect the final compensation package – up or down – including the defendant; the type of case; whether compensation is paid as a result of a settlement or following a jury trial, and; the extent of your injuries.
What’s the problem with hernia mesh?
The FDA estimates that up to 90% of the more than one million Americans who undergo hernia surgery each year receive some form of hernia mesh. The mesh, which can be made from polyester, Gore-Tex, polypropylene, or animal-derived tissue, helps reinforce the damaged or weakened tissue and keeps the hernia in place.
Yet despite its widespread use, hernia mesh is not without risk – roughly one-third of hernia mesh surgery patients experience chronic pain or other post-surgery complications. These include abdominal pain, organ or tissue perforation, bowel obstruction, re-herniation, or follow-up surgeries to repair defective mesh.
These complications have caused the FDA, and even some manufacturers, to recall certain hernia mesh products, while others are under investigation for potential defects.
Hernia mesh lawsuits
Many people injured by defective mesh products have filed hernia mesh lawsuits seeking compensation. Once a lawsuit is filed, compensation can be paid in one of two ways.
The first is through a settlement. This happens when the parties agree on a set amount the defendant will pay the plaintiff. Either party can make a settlement offer at any time from the date the lawsuit is filed to right before the jury issues a verdict, although most settlements are completed before trial begins. Often the negotiations go through several rounds of offers and counteroffers before the parties reach an agreement. Once settled, the case is dismissed and the plaintiff has no further recourse against the defendant. Your hernia mesh attorney can help you decide whether you should accept a hernia mesh settlement.
Settlements also occur as a result of multi-district litigation, or MDL. In an MDL, the trial court consolidates several individual, but similar, lawsuits into a single “bellwether” trial. The purpose of the bellwether trial is to give the remaining plaintiffs and defendants an idea of how their individual cases may potentially fare if they proceed to trial.
If the plaintiffs in a bellwether trial prevail, the defendant typically offers a global settlement to the remaining plaintiffs, where they agree to pay a large sum of money that is then distributed to each plaintiff based on the extent of their injuries. If the defendant prevails, the plaintiffs in the MDL get nothing, and it is less likely that the manufacturer will offer a settlement to the remaining plaintiffs, instead choosing to take their chances in court on the belief that if they prevailed during the bellwether trial, they will prevail in subsequent trials, too.
The second way compensation is awarded is following a jury trial. In these cases, the jury must first find that the defendant guilty, or liable, for the plaintiff’s injuries. The jury then decides the amount of compensation the plaintiff is entitled to receive.
Damages for hernia mesh injury
There are two types of damages plaintiffs involved in a hernia mesh lawsuit may be entitled to recover for their injuries – compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are damages that compensate you for actual losses incurred due to injury. There are two types of compensatory damages – economic and non-economic damages. Depending on the extent of your injuries you may be entitled to recover losses for one or both of forms of compensatory damage.
Economic damages are those that can be measured in actual dollar amounts and include losses such as:
- Medical bills not paid by health insurance;
- Past, present, and future lost wages, and;
- Future lost earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are damages that do not have a concrete dollar amount. Unlike lost wages or medical bills, where the amount can easily be proven with hospital bills or salary information, non-economic damages are subjective. Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Mental anguish, or;
- Permanent disabilities, impairment, or disfigurement.
Proving the amount of non-economic damages suffered due to your injuries requires testimony about how the injuries have impacted your life. The jury will then decide how much you’re entitled to receive based on these losses.
The third form of damages you may be entitled to receive is punitive damages. These are damages designed solely to punish the defendant for his bad acts and to hopefully prevent him from engaging in the same type of behavior in the future. Punitive damages awards are typically larger than compensatory damage awards and vary based on how culpable (i.e., responsible) the defendant is for your injuries and how egregious the jury finds their actions.
For example, a manufacturer who kept its hernia mesh product on the market despite knowing that it caused injuries would likely be hit with much higher punitive damages than a manufacturer who pulled its product as soon as it learned of the defects. While both are responsible for the injuries their defective product caused, a jury would likely find it more egregious that the first company took no steps to protect patients from its knowingly defective product – and thus needed to be punished more – than the second company, who pulled its product as soon as the defects became known.
The hernia mesh attorneys at The Good Law Group leverage 30 years’ experience to evaluate hernia mesh cases and help our clients obtain financial compensation for their injuries. Call us today to schedule a no-cost initial consultation – (800) 419-7606.