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What is a Statute of Limitations?

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If you are considering filing a legal action, you’ve probably heard the term “Statute of Limitations.”

A “statute” is the common law that sets the time frame within which you have to file a lawsuit. A filing outside of that time frame may mean it is too late to prosecute the person or company responsible for your injury.  This applies to personal injury or civil law but there is also a statute on criminal acts.

One exception – a murder is a criminal action and does not have a statute of limitations.

A vaginal or hernia mesh injury is considered a product liability case, also known as a defective product lawsuit and is a civil action.

So when does the clock start?  When the plaintiff (the injured party) knew or should have reasonably known about his or her injury. Some states actually begin the clock when the injury occurred, which may not be the same time when your pain began.

That may partially explain why you see aggressive lawsuit advertisements on television, billboards and flyers. For many people, legal ads are the only way they find out about mesh complications.

A plaintiff should be aware of the time limitations within which to file an action  because some law firms delay in filing or a legal referral service may not be timely in passing it onto the appropriate law firm. It is up to the injured party then to be mindful that the clock is ticking and remain on top of their case rather than hand it off and hope for the best.

This is not intended to be legal advice, just an explanation by a non-lawyer. Check with your law firm to make sure you understate the Statute of Limitations and that they understand the time frame of your injury.

Learn More:

The Statute may change over time, Nolo Press provides a “rough guide” to look up your state. Here.

Findlaw has more on the statutes in your state:

Here is Cornell Law on the Statute of Limitations:



  1. rose lopez says:

    looking for a hernia mesh attorney to help me

  2. I have had 4 hernia surgeries since 2010. In 2010 I had a complete reconstruction. The mesh used was Permocal by Tissue Science Lab. I noticed a slight bulge in 8/11 and told it was normal. On 11/29/11 I fell coming out of work. With days my stomach extended like I was 6 months pregnant and another bulge on my right side the size of a grapefruit. Told workman’s comp that there is something seriously wrong. On 3/13/12 they repaired the mesh with Parietex Progrip by Covien. The bulge was still present and had another surgery to repair another hernia on 9/12/12. That surgery was done laparoscopy. The mesh use was Mesh Composite by Ethicon. Since these surgeries, I have been in constant pain, unable to have bowel movement & problems with urinating, vomiting, nausea, unknown fevers, back, hip and sciatic nerve pain in both legs. After searching for answers. I went to a Gastroenterologist. He suspected a bowel obstruction and sent me to my original surgeon. In 10/2013 a CT Scan showed a lower bowel obstruction from a piece of mesh that wrapped around the bowel. Set up surgery for 1/27/14 and he was going to remove the mesh, and adhesions and fix the bowel obstruction. On the morning of surgery, he refused to remove the mesh or cancel the surgery. I was half sedated and told my husband the same thing. He told him to fix the bowel obstruction and deal with the rest later. During surgery there was a piece of mesh sitting above by belly button that he removed. I had made arrangements with Pathology to have them preserve it for 3 yrs.The mesh used was Permocal by Tissue Science Lab. Again I was experiencing the same symptoms. This was the same mesh that split on me in 2011. I told him a pre-op appointment and he said you have to deal with it. The surgeon told me that my lower abdomen was filled with mesh entwined with scar tissue. He said their is nothing he would do for me or recommend. I went for a plastic surgeon 6/14 for a Blue Cross approved amminoplasty. He wanted to do his own CT Scan to see where the mesh begins and ends. A couple days later he said I have another hernia and a problem with my bowel. He tried to get a surgeon to help me to repair the hernia. No one would help me. I was in ER two weeks in a row unable to go to the bathroom. I finally got a surgeon thru a friend that would help me. When I went to the appointment on 7/19/14, he sent me straight to ER. I was dehydrated, and was unable to have a bowel movement or urinate. I was in overnight. Supposedly the feces is getting caught in the mesh and scar tissue which is close to the colon. I was given an enema and put on a soft diet. Still having problems with nausea and vomiting. I have another appointment with the surgeon 8/1/14. This new surgeon said that the surgeon didn’t put enough tissue to keep it in place and it broke through. Do I have a Product Liability Case? Please advise. This will be my 6th hernia surgery since 2008.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Diane— the best person to run that past is Bruce Rosenberg 954-701-5094. He is hernia mesh injured and very knowledgeable about the latest medically and legally. His purpose is education through the Meshoma Foundation…. thank you! ~ ja

  3. Steve T. says:

    had dbl. inguinal hernia surgery 9-24-14 i have testicular nerve damage very badly andd it causes nerve pain tomy back very very badly it causes nerve pain to my upper abs to diaphragm muscle and up the back side does anybody no why testicular nerve damage is causing other nerve pain…

    Steve Talagian

    • Jane Akre says:

      Please contact Bruce Rosenberg 954-701-5094… He has info on hernia mesh and doctors who may be able to address it.

  4. Eugene says:

    i had a repair surgery for 3 hernias in 2013 by the V.A. … I have been experiencing discomfort and cold sensations as i did prior to the ssurgery.. I’m scared to go back to the V.A… what are my rights and options please…

  5. Eugene says:

    the surgeon used paritex mesh…

  6. Rachel says:

    I had 3 umbilical hernia surgeries in 2006 and 2007 due to mesh complications. I was unaware and never told about mesh recalls, is the statue of limitations up for me?

    • Jane Akre says:

      Check your state and how it defines statute of limitations- is it from your implant time or when you first knew you had a problem?

  7. Claire says:

    I have been suffering from an autoimmune condition resembling mixed connective tissue disease, for about 9 years. I recently read that hernia mesh repairs might cause this condition. I had hernia surgery with mesh repair just before the autoimmune condition began. Is it too late for a law suit now?

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