One of the most common treatments for people suffering from hernia involves implanting hernia mesh. This can strengthen the area where the hernia occurred and prevent a recurrence, which is typical for this condition. Hernia mesh comes in many forms, but generally it is made from animal tissue or synthetic material. Unfortunately, hernia mesh products and the related procedures have gone wrong more often than patients would hope. Complications have included perforations in organs or tissue, adhesions to organs or tissue, bowel and bladder obstructions, dislodged mesh, infections in the area around the mesh, and inadequate performance. Patients sometimes need additional surgeries to repair or replace the mesh.
Defendants in Hernia Mesh Cases
Claims arising from problems with hernia mesh could take either or both of two possible paths. If the mesh is defective, the patient may have a product liability claim against the mesh manufacturer. If the mesh was adequate, but the doctor improperly implanted it, this may result in a medical malpractice claim against the doctor. Both product liability and medical malpractice claims are very technical and usually require the assistance of expert witnesses. However, there are certain key differences between these types of claims. Medical malpractice cases may impose specific procedural rules and deadlines that a plaintiff must meet. Some states also impose damages caps in medical malpractice cases. This means that a patient will be limited to recovering a certain amount, regardless of their actual costs and losses.
Product liability cases, by contrast, generally are not subject to damages caps. Some procedural rules may apply, but the process is often less complicated. This can make a product liability claim more appealing to a potential plaintiff, but they should consult an attorney to make sure that they are pursuing the appropriate legal avenue. In some cases, a class action already may have been brought by similarly situated patients, and it may make sense for a plaintiff to join the class action if possible.
Damages in Hernia Mesh Cases
The injuries and costs related to improperly manufactured or installed hernia mesh can be substantial. You may not want to accept a settlement immediately if the full extent of your damages is not yet clear. They may include bills related to past and future medical care resulting from the complications. A second surgery, additional doctors’ visits, and emergency room treatment would fall within this category. A victim also can recover compensation for lost income caused by missed time at work, as well as any reduced earning capacity in the future. More subjective forms of damages may be awarded as well, especially pain and suffering. This can consist of physical pain related to the complications and the procedures required to resolve them, as well as mental and psychological distress and anxiety.
A patient has a duty to mitigate any damages by seeking medical treatment promptly when they discover a problem. If they do not follow up within a reasonable time, or if they fail to receive necessary treatment, they will not receive compensation for additional damages caused by the unreasonable delay.
Statutes of Limitations in Hernia Mesh Cases
A statute of limitations applies to each type of civil matter in each state. Plaintiffs must meet this deadline or almost invariably face the dismissal of their case. The statute of limitations for your case will depend on whether you are suing under a product liability or medical malpractice theory. Product liability cases usually follow the same statute of limitations as standard personal injury cases. Medical malpractice cases often have a distinctive statute of limitations. Filing within the statute of limitations is not always easy if a patient does not notice a problem or suffer from symptoms soon after the mesh is implanted.
To address this issue, many states apply a discovery rule to certain types of personal injury cases. The discovery rule provides that the statute of limitations starts when the patient discovers or reasonably should discover the error or problem. In other words, it starts later than when the defendant made the mistake giving rise to the lawsuit.