Will I Need to File a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit?

While settlement of your hernia mesh claim could happen at any time, filing a lawsuit in court is usually a key procedural step.

By , J.D.

When you're experiencing complications after hernia mesh surgery, there's a very real possibility that the manufacturer of the mesh is legally responsible for any harm caused by the implant. Does that mean you'll need to file a lawsuit in order to get compensation for your health problems and other losses? Or is there a way to get a fair hernia mesh settlement without taking your case through the civil court process?

Early (Pre-Lawsuit) Settlement Is Always Possible

As with any kind of injury-related claim, a hernia mesh case could get resolved at almost any time. It's even possible that your case reaches a resolution before you need to file a lawsuit in court. A good example is when other hernia mesh patients have filed lawsuits that are very similar to your potential case from a factual standpoint, and the outcomes of those lawsuits have trended strongly toward one side (the injured patient as the plaintiff) or the other (the mesh manufacturer as the defendant).

For example, let's say there are hundreds of lawsuits in progress against the manufacturer of the same mesh that failed in your course of treatment, four of those lawsuits recently went through a full court trial, the mesh manufacturer was found liable in all four cases, and all four plaintiffs were awarded between $750,000 and $2.5 million in damages. In that situation, the mesh manufacturer may be very motivated to resolve your claim, and may offer a fair settlement after a few phone conversations with your lawyer. (Figure out the settlement value of a hernia mesh case.)

In some jurisdictions, special procedural or court rules may encourage (or require) you to attempt to resolve your claim through settlement talks and other out-of-court (either before you actually file your lawsuit, or soon afterward).

And finally, there's always the chance that, based on early conversations and informal settlement negotiations with the "other side," you (and your lawyer) could decide that your hernia mesh case isn't worth pursuing after all.

It's important to note that while getting a satisfactory hernia mesh settlement without filing a lawsuit is possible, that doesn't mean this kind of outcome is probable. Fair or not, an injured person's willingness to go to the time and expense of filing a lawsuit can indicate a certain level of seriousness. In other words, taking your hernia mesh case to court may be the best way to get the medical device manufacturer to sit up and take you (and your injury claim) seriously.

Learn more about the timeline of a typical hernia mesh case.

Filing the Lawsuit Is (Usually) the Easy Part

While taking your case to court and filing an injury-related lawsuit may seem like a daunting step, it's really more of a procedural formality than anything else. You're simply laying out some of the facts surrounding your case, and informing the mesh manufacturer about your allegations. Filing the lawsuit is also necessary in order to preserve your rights under the filing deadlines set by your state's laws. (Learn more about the statute of limitations in hernia mesh lawsuits.) So try not to be intimidated at the prospect of taking your case to court, and rest assured your hernia mesh lawyer won't be.

The real work comes when it's time to put together your case against the mesh manufacturer. This is when medical records need to be pored over, expert witnesses need to be consulted, and the full nature and extent of your health complications needs to be methodically laid out. It's the strength of this evidence that will determine the value of your case (and motivate the mesh manufacturer to come to the negotiating table with a fair settlement offer.)

Let Your Lawyer Figure It Out

While it's true that there are a number of potential paths toward resolution of your hernia mesh injury case, it's not your job to come up with the right one. There are a whole host of factors that your attorney will carefully weigh when deciding on the best course of action given the specifics of your situation, including:

  • the landscape of existing hernia mesh litigation against the manufacturer
  • the manufacturer's demonstrated willingness to resolve claims early on (or their demonstrated tendency to dig in their heels and fight it out in court)
  • similarities between the health problems you're experiencing and known/acknowledged health problems linked to your particular mesh implant
  • FDA recalls and other regulatory action involving your particular mesh implant, and
  • the seriousness of the health problems you've suffered, and whether the full nature and extent of those problems is understood.

Bottom line: It's probably best to leave it to your hernia mesh lawyer to devise the most effective strategy for your case, while you focus on feeling better.

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