Class action claim: pelvic mesh implants

Have you had a pelvic mesh implant procedure for medical reasons and is it causing you severe problems? We are handling a class action claim to recover damages from manufacturers, doctors and hospitals. On this page you will find important information about how you can recover your damages and how we can assist you in doing so.

Reason for class action claim

The pelvic mesh implants can cause severe problems such as unbearable pain, infections and incontinence. The Dutch Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) received a large number of complaints concerning these implants between 2009 and 2012; likewise, in other countries around the world problems with these implants came to light in the same period. The reports received by the IGZ were of such concern that they prompted an investigation, on the basis of which the IGZ concluded that these implants should be used with great restraint.

The first reported problems pertained to the “transvaginal mesh” implants, which are implanted via the vagina. However, over time it became clear that the same types of symptoms could also arise with other types of synthetic mesh implants, for example, TVT slings for treatment of stress incontinence, mesh used for pelvic organ prolapse and mesh used to attach the uterus or top of the vagina to the sacrum in pelvic reconstruction surgery. Complaints also arose following the use of such mesh implants for inguinal and abdominal hernias.

Manufacturers of these mesh implants include Johnson & Johnson, CR Bard, Davol, Boston Scientific, Island Biosurgical, Caldera Medical, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Covidien, American Medical Systems (AMS), Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson) and Mentor.

What we mean by “damages”

When we refer to “damages” we do not mean only the cost of one or more revision operations, but also all other costs resulting from the use of the problematic implant. This can include everything, including additional travel costs, the deductible that you must pay to your health insurer, and loss of income if you are unable to work because of the problem. Damages can also arise in the long term, for example if it is no longer possible to perform revision surgery.

Registering for the group claim

We have made arrangements with a few selected legal aid insurers, who have agreed to place all pelvic mesh implant cases with us. If you have legal aid insurance with one of these insurers, then the insurer will cover the legal costs up to your policy’s maximum. You can register your case with the legal aid insurer with the request for your case to be placed with our firm. We will then receive the registration of your case from your legal aid insurer and contact you as quickly as possible.If you do not have legal aid insurance, then you can contact us directly to discuss your options in a free, no-obligation consultation.

What you need to consider for recovering damages

When recovering damages, there are two things you need to think about. Firstly, the expiry period for your claim; secondly, the risks of medical authorizations and settlement agreements.

Expiry periods and prescription periodsIn order to recover your damages, you can hold the manufacturer of the implant and/or the doctor and hospital liable. These are two different forms of liability: product liability and medical liability, respectively. In both cases, it is important to pay attention to the expiry/prescription periods for claims based on this type of liability.

Normally, in cases of product liability there is an expiry period of 10 years from the moment that the product came on the market. Because of this expiry period it is important to make sure that if you are appealing to this type of liability you must either have resolved to your compensation claim or have initiated legal proceedings in court within this 10 years.

However, in a judgment in a case we argued, the court accepted our argument about the legal basis of the wrongful act (tort). This means that the court accepted that the doctrine of wrongful act (tort), and not just the product liability, applies to these cases. One of the consequences of this is that the much more favourable expiry periods apply, and there is no prescription period at all. It should be noted that the counterparty has appealed this ruling, and that appeal is still pending. Read more.

Claims of liability against the doctor and the hospital do not expire. There is, however, a statutory prescription period of five years from the moment that both you as the victim and the person responsible for the damages become aware of them. Unlike the expiry period, this prescription period can be interrupted multiple times over the five-year period.

Risks of medical authorization and settlement agreementIf at any moment you receive a medical authorization or a settlement agreement from a counterparty, we advise you not to sign it. Doing so would be very risky without independent legal advice. One risk, for example, is that it may allow your complete worldwide medical file to be obtained by companies affiliated with the manufacturer. You also run the risk that significant damages may not be compensated and you may be signing away your right to hold the counterparty liable for future damages.

Stronger together

We treat every case we handle as an individual case. We itenditfy the nature and the severity of the injury, as well as the amount of the damages, individually for every client. Having said that, the adage of “stronger together” applies, because the discussion of liability comes up in every case, and because we serve many clients in this kind of situation we have extensive knowledge of the subject matter. Also, we are able to spread the costs that we incur in the liability discussion among multiple clients. This makes it for you as client more attractive to join us alongside other clients in protecting your rights.

More information

If you would like more information about the handling of the class action claims or if you would like to register your claim, please complete the pelvic mesh implant contact form. We are looking forward to helping you and will contact you as quickly as possible.

For general information about the problems with synthetic pelvic mesh implant, visit the website of MeshedUp, a foundation and support organization for victims.

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