How Long Will My Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Take?

It's tough to predict exactly how long your hernia mesh case will take before it settles or goes to trial, but here's what to keep in mind.

By , J.D.

If you're experiencing health problems as a result of hernia mesh surgery, you may be thinking about filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the mesh or the health care provider who performed the procedure. (Learn more about who to sue for hernia mesh complications.)

Like any other kind of personal injury case that makes it to court, a hernia mesh injury claim proceeds through a number of distinct stages. And while every case is different, a number of factors will determine the timeline of your hernia mesh lawsuit.

The Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Process

Here's a snapshot of the key phases of a typical hernia mesh lawsuit:

  • the injured patient (now the "plaintiff") files a civil complaint in court. The "complaint" is the document that describes the plaintiff's case and their claims against the hernia mesh manufacturer and/or the health care provider (now the "defendant")
  • the defendant files an "answer" to the complaint
  • the "discovery" process begins: plaintiff and defendant(s) exchange information, medical records, and other evidence through written questions (interrogatories), sworn testimony (depositions), and document requests
  • pre-trial motions are filed and hearings are held: both sides of the lawsuit try to persuade the judge to allow or disallow certain evidence (testimony from a proposed expert witness, for example) or to dismiss all or part of the other side's argument, and
  • trial takes place: plaintiff and defendant carefully set out their arguments in front of the judge or jury, and the judge or jury decides whether the defendant should be held financially responsible for the plaintiff's injuries and other losses (damages) arising from the hernia mesh complications.

Those are the basics of the process. Now let's take a closer look at factors that have the biggest impact on how long the process might take. (Learn more about the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit.)

Hernia Mesh Cases Are Notoriously Complicated

Regardless of whether you're arguing that the hernia mesh was defective (product liability), or that the health care provider who treated you made an unreasonable mistake (medical malpractice), a hernia mesh lawsuit is a complicated undertaking. There may be special rules to hurdle right at the outset, including the statute of limitations and other procedural requirements. (Learn more about hernia mesh lawsuits and the statute of limitations.) And there will certainly be stacks of medical records to sift through, and expert witnesses to hear from (often multiple experts on both sides of the case).

That means some of the phases we mentioned above will undoubtedly take longer than they might in a less-complex lawsuit (one stemming from a car accident, for example). That's especially true when it comes to the discovery process and the filing of pre-trial motions that will set the ground rules for any trial. (Learn more about proving a medical device defect case and how to establish medical malpractice.)

The court's calendar may also affect the timeline of a hernia mesh case. If the calendar is clogged, hearing and trial dates might get pushed back by weeks or months.

Your Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Could Settle at Any Time

As discussed above, any hernia mesh lawsuit is bound to follow roughly the same path from the filing of the complaint through a trial, but it's important to note that settlement of the lawsuit can take place at any time.

Depending on the jurisdiction in which the hernia mesh lawsuit is filed, the court is almost certain to require that the plaintiff and defendant attend at least one Mandatory Settlement Conference in an attempt to resolve the lawsuit before trial takes place. And the parties themselves are sure to engage in their own efforts to negotiate an out-of-court settlement to the case, especially as the trial date gets closer and the parties get a better sense of the case landscape (and of their respective chances of prevailing). Learn more about personal injury settlements.

The Timeline Is (Partly) Up to You

One of the biggest variables in determining how long your hernia mesh lawsuit will take is you. If the defendant offers you a settlement, you'll certainly end up with some fast cash, but you probably won't be getting fair compensation for your losses. That's especially true if there are still big unknowns, including:

  • a complete picture of your hernia mesh complications, and
  • a full understanding of the medical care that will be necessary to correct the problem

With so much at stake, it's wise to discuss your potential claim with an experienced attorney. Remember, once you accept a settlement, you can't go back and ask for more money, even if it turns out your injuries are worse than you first thought.

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