16 Jun, 2023

Who Can File a Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuit?

Author Todd A. Strong

When filing your lawsuit, you’ll need to know who to sue. In most vaginal mesh injury cases, the manufacturer is the sole defendant. As a result, you’ll need to identify the exact company that made the mesh.

Statue of Justice and lawyer working on a laptop. Concept of transvaginal mesh lawsuit
Statue of Justice and lawyer working on a laptop. Concept of transvaginal mesh lawsuit

Background of Transvaginal Mesh Complications

Transvaginal mesh is a net-like substance that’s inserted into a patient’s vaginal area to provide support for damaged or weakened tissues inside the body. The mesh is inserted through surgery. 

Medical Reasons for Surgical Implantation of Transvaginal Pelvic Mesh

Transvaginal pelvic mesh is surgically implanted primarily to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

POP is a condition that occurs when the tissues and muscles supporting the pelvic floor area loosen or weaken, causing them to drop. As a result, pelvic organs like the uterus, rectum, and bladder often slip out of place. Childbirth, surgery, and aging-related hormonal changes are common causes of the condition. Surgeons insert a transvaginal mesh to hold up the fallen pelvic organs.

SUI is a condition where external stress, such as impact exercises and sneezing, puts pressure on the bladder and causes involuntary leakage of urine. A transvaginal mesh is used to support the urethra or bladder neck.

The Problems With Vaginal Mesh Implants

Transvaginal mesh products were introduced hastily into the market without undergoing full clinical trials because they qualified for the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) fast-track program. They were substantially equivalent to the mesh that had been used to repair hernias successfully for years. The transvaginal mesh wasn’t tested for use with SUI or POP. A study published in the BMJ Open medical journal in December 2017 found that 61 transvaginal mesh products available on the market hadn’t gone through clinical testing.

From 2008 to 2010, the FDA received more than 1,500 reports of complications associated with the use of mesh products in POP repair. That was more than five times more reports than the number the agency had received from 2005 to 2007. The agency continued to experience a significant increase in the number of reports of adverse events related to transvaginal mesh implants, to the point of having to ban sales of the mesh products.

What Are Some Possible Side Effects of Transvaginal Mesh Devices?

Thousands of women who’ve received transvaginal mesh implants have suffered painful symptoms and complications.

Mesh erosion is a common complication. It occurs when the mesh moves to nearby tissue, such as the bowel, bladder, and vaginal wall. It can cause bleeding, painful intercourse, severe infection, and even death. Many patients usually need surgery to try to remove a portion of the mesh. Because of how the mesh adheres to the body, removal can be extremely painful or impossible.

This follow-up treatment may cause several other complications, including:

  • Vaginal scarring
  • Additional prolapses
  • Vaginal shrinkage
  • Muscle and nerve damage
  • The need for repeated hospitalizations and revision surgeries

Who Qualifies for a Valid Claim in a Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit?

Transvaginal mesh lawsuits are becoming more and more common as women who have experienced complications after receiving the mesh during surgery are increasingly taking legal action. More than 108,000 women have filed these lawsuits across the country. While some cases have proceeded to trial, many have been resolved through out-of-court settlements, typically between the manufacturers and the injury victims.

Vaginal mesh lawsuits have led to substantial awards for victims. Manufacturers of the mesh devices have paid plaintiffs more than $400 million following orders by juries. The New York Times reported that in January 2020, the total settlement payments that mesh manufacturers had made was about $8 billion. According to estimates, the settlements could hit $11 billion.

Results from mesh lawsuits are commonly in favor of the victims. Therefore, the chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit for transvaginal mesh complications are high if you qualify to pursue legal action. Not all women who’ve received a mesh implant are eligible for a lawsuit. Below are a few critical requirements you’ll need to meet for your transvaginal mesh claim to be valid.

 You Were Affected Negatively by a Transvaginal Mesh Implant

You may have a viable legal claim and may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages if you received a transvaginal mesh implant and experienced any of the symptoms or complications described above. You may have a valid claim even if you’ve already undertaken medical procedures to solve these problems, such as undergoing surgery to have the mesh removed or damage repaired.

Spouses of injury victims who are intimately involved with them can also file a lawsuit if they’ve been harmed, for example, by having the mesh harm their genitals or being unable to engage in sexual intercourse.

An easy way to know if your claim is valid is by consulting with an attorney who handles these kinds of cases. A transvaginal mesh attorney will examine your case and help you establish whether you have a valid claim, determine your possible legal options and how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement, and assist you in planning your next steps.

You can also contact the FDA to learn whether you have a valid case. The agency maintains records of medical devices and the adverse experiences reported from their usage. You can find the registry on the agency’s website.

You Have Medical Records Demonstrating Your Symptoms

One aspect of pelvic mesh lawsuits you’ll have to address is the health problems that were caused by the device. Qualifying to file a pelvic mesh lawsuit requires that you provide medical records of the complications that followed the surgery.

If you’re currently experiencing any symptoms that may be related to the vaginal mesh, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The medical interactions, treatments, and records generated help trace your complications back to the transvaginal mesh, document your losses, and support your lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations for Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits in Peoria

Women who currently qualify for lawsuits are those who’ve suffered transvaginal mesh injuries or complications within the last few years. That’s due to the statute of limitations, which is the time window within which you can file a case. Each state has its statute of limitations. You can’t file a transvaginal mesh case once the applicable statute of limitations expires.

Transvaginal mesh lawsuits are usually filed against device manufacturers. In some cases, physicians and hospitals that handled the implantation can also be held liable for injuries. However, these lawsuits typically fall under product liability, with the problem being the medical device itself.

In Peoria, Chicago, and the rest of Illinois, the product liability statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from when you were injured or discovered the injury.

Illinois also has a statute of repose that imposes an absolute deadline, regardless of when you discovered or reasonably should have discovered your injury. The statute of repose for product liability claims is 12 years. As a result, you can’t file a vaginal mesh lawsuit more than 12 years after the date of the transvaginal mesh surgery. Remember, this period reduces to two years once you discover the harm you suffered from the transvaginal mesh implant. Therefore, it’s essential to begin the lawsuit process as early as possible after experiencing adverse symptoms and discovering that they may be linked to the transvaginal mesh implantation.

Who to Sue for Transvaginal Mesh Injuries

When filing your lawsuit, you’ll need to know who to sue. In most vaginal mesh injury cases, the manufacturer is the sole defendant. As a result, you’ll need to identify the exact company that made the mesh. 

The major manufacturers that have been commonly involved in lawsuits include:

  • Boston Scientific
  • C. R. Bard Inc.
  • American Medical Systems (AMS)
  • Ethicon
  • Coloplast Corp.
  • Johnson & Johnson

Some companies have settled with women who have suffered injuries from using their mesh devices. For instance, in 2020, C. R. Bard Inc. agreed to pay $60 million to settle several cases. In 2015, the company settled over 3,000 lawsuits for more than $200 million. In 2021, Boston Scientific agreed to settle claims from most states for approximately $189 million.

You can check with your doctor or have a transvaginal mesh attorney conduct an investigation for you to figure out the company that made the mesh that caused your injuries. An attorney’s in-depth investigations, backed by his or her knowledge of product liability litigation, skill, and fortitude, will also help you prove liability. Remember, a manufacturer won’t give you a settlement check simply because you have an injury claim against the company. You’ll need to craft a case that proves the company’s liability for your damages.

Transvaginal mesh manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are safe and effective. Filing a lawsuit with the help of a transvaginal mesh lawyer lets you hold manufacturers accountable for their defective devices and recover compensation to reimburse you for your economic and non-economic losses.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.