If you or a loved one suffered complications from a hernia mesh implant, you may be considering filing a lawsuit. Hernia mesh products from many major manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson, C.R. Bard, and Atrium Medical have faced massive litigation over the years.
Patients filing hernia mesh lawsuits allege that mesh products caused serious complications and injuries. They accuse the manufacturers of failing to warn about risks and designing defective devices. But what sort of compensation is awarded from these lawsuits? Below we look at average settlement payouts and what impacts the amount.
What is Hernia Mesh?
Let’s start with a quick overview of hernia mesh products. Hernias occur when an organ or tissue pushes through a weak spot or tear in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. Hernias often happen in the abdomen, groin, or pelvis.
Mesh implants are used to repair and reinforce the weakened area during hernia surgery. The mesh is placed over the hernia and held in place while the body heals. This extra support helps prevent the hernia from reoccurring.
Hernia mesh usually contains synthetic plastic-like materials or animal tissue. Major manufacturers include Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson), C.R. Bard, Atrium Medical, Gore Medical, and Covidien.
Complications Lead to Lawsuits
Though hernia mesh often effectively treats hernias, thousands of patients have experienced severe complications from their mesh implants:
- Adhesions (mesh sticking to tissue)
- Bowel obstructions
- Pain & discomfort
- Mesh erosion through the skin
- Mesh migration & shrinking
- Recurring hernias
In more serious cases, patients suffered permanent injuries and disabilities. Some even died due to complications alleged to be from their mesh implants.
It is these complications that form the basis for most hernia mesh lawsuits. Patients accuse manufacturers of selling defective mesh and failing to warn about potential risks.
How Common are Hernia Mesh Complications?
Studies show complication rates from hernia mesh can range from 15-25%. The most common complications are persistent pain and infection around the mesh implantation site.
However, more severe complications seem to occur in around 1-3% of hernia mesh patients. Cases where the mesh adheres to tissue, migrates, erodes, or causes recurring hernias fall into this category.
Factors That Increase Lawsuit Success
If you are experiencing complications from your hernia mesh, an experienced attorney can help analyze the details of your case. However, in general, certain factors tend to increase the potential value and likelihood of success of a hernia mesh lawsuit:
- Severe injuries – Permanent disability or injuries that require long-term care warrant higher damages. Cases involving death of a patient also warrant substantial damages.
- Manufacturer defect history – Some mesh makers have faced massive numbers of lawsuits and losses. Their past conduct makes for a stronger case.
- Early mesh failure – If the hernia mesh failed very soon after implantation before tissue integrated well, it suggests a defective product.
- Mesh type – Certain mesh designs seem more prone to complications like migration or erosion according to studies.
- Revision surgeries – Patients who require one or more additional surgeries to remove or correct the failed mesh have a stronger case for economic and pain and suffering damages.
Average Hernia Mesh Settlements
Most hernia mesh lawsuits settle out of court before trial. Settlement payouts average:
- For minor complications: $50,000 – $200,000
- For moderate complications: $200,000 – $500,000
- For major complications: $500,000 – $1 million+
Cases with severe or permanent injuries, disabilities, or death often result in even larger settlements exceeding $1 million.
Settlement payouts vary drastically based on the specific complications suffered, required medical care, and the plaintiff’s lawyers negotiating leverage with the defendant.
Hernia Mesh Verdicts
A small percentage of hernia mesh lawsuits that don’t settle proceed to trial. Average verdicts also vary greatly. But many recent verdicts have been over $1 million:
- July 2018 – $2.5 million verdict against C.R. Bard
- January 2019 – $80 million verdict against Ethicon
- September 2019 – $3.62 million verdict against Ethicon
- February 2020 – $6 million verdict against Atrium Medical
The highest hernia mesh verdict thus far came in March 2018 when a jury awarded $68 million in damages to a man injured by C.R. Bard mesh.
These substantial verdicts are often reduced to comply with state damage caps. But they demonstrate juries’ willingness to hold mesh makers accountable. Verdicts that high also motivate manufacturers to settle other pending cases.
What Impacts Your Potential Payout?
It is impossible to predict any specific settlement or verdict amount upfront. The value depends on the unique facts of each plaintiff’s case. However, some key factors impact payouts:
Type and Severity of Injuries
The most important factor is the type and severity of your complications and injuries from the mesh. Patients who experienced only minor pain or one complication that resolved quickly receive lower payouts. The more severe, debilitating and permanent the injuries, the higher potential damages. Major factors include:
- Number of complications/surgeries
- Disability, loss of mobility, difficulty performing usual activities
- Duration and severity of pain/suffering
- Loss of employment andimpact on finances
- Any permanent injuries or ongoing medical care needed
The manufacturer of your hernia mesh product is a major factor. Companies with extensive defect and failure histories who lost previous lawsuits will often settle cases faster and for higher amounts.
For instance, Johnson & Johnson and it’s subsidiary Ethicon face over 25,000 lawsuits currently over its Physiomesh hernia product. The company already settled thousands of cases for almost $1 billion total in recent years.
So Ethicon mesh cases often result in above-average settlements today. In contrast, a less common mesh product that faced few prior suits may not settle as readily or for as much.
The stronger the evidence that the manufacturer designed a defective mesh product or failed to warn doctors of material risks, the better. For instance, many lawsuits focus on specific mesh materials more prone to complications.
Or cases where the company knew of risks ahead of time but did not update warnings. Strong defect allegations make for a more compelling lawsuit narrative before a jury if the case proceeds to trial.
Location of Lawsuit Filing
Where you file your hernia mesh lawsuit geographically can impact outcomes. Some states like New Jersey, California, and Missouri are known as particularly plaintiff-friendly. Local state laws, judges, and jury pools in these locations rule in favor of plaintiffs like injured patients more often than manufacturer defendants.
For instance, Johnson & Johnson faced many Physiomesh hernia mesh suits in New Jersey state court where plaintiffs often won substantial verdicts. This motivated the company to settle most similar cases. Filing your lawsuit in a jurisdiction with a history of big plaintiff verdicts can provide leverage when negotiating a settlement.
Lawyer Skill and Resources
Having an experienced defective medical device attorney is crucial. Your lawyer’s resources and track record with these cases impacts your ability to secure evidence, expert testimony, and negotiate for full fair compensation.
Many experienced hernia mesh litigation firms use multi-lawyer teams. They also hire medical experts from the start to prove mesh complications. Top lawyers know what certain cases are worth based on past results and can hold out for maximum settlements.
Do Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Funding Companies Help?
One option available today is lawsuit loans from specialized legal finance companies. If your lawsuit is pending and you are struggling financially, these companies provide cash advances against a portion of your expected settlement.
The funds can help cover costs of living and medical bills as your case proceeds. And you only repay the advance if you win your case from the settlement amount.
Just be sure to use established legal funding companies that work with your attorney. They can provide the upfront cash flow without charging excessive fees or interest rates.
Consult An Attorney About Your Legal Options
There are many factors that determine whether you will receive a settlement or verdict from your hernia mesh lawsuit, and for how much. Speak to an attorney experienced with mesh litigation to fully evaluate your case.
They can examine your specific mesh complications, surgeries, and injuries. An attorney can also advise you on where to file the lawsuit and build the strongest argument for manufacturer liability. And they will represent your best interests for fair compensation.
With thousands of hernia mesh lawsuits awaiting resolution, experienced lawyers are available to review your potential claim at no upfront cost. So do not hesitate to consult an attorney to discuss your legal options. Compensation may be available for the pain and complications caused by a defective hernia mesh product.