In law terminology, a “tort” is not a criminal offense but a civil offense. For civil lawsuits involving tort law, (which can be referred to as personal injury law as well) the victim must prove that their injury was caused by the offending party’s negligence or it was done intentionally.
Mass torts are essentially tort cases just on a much grander scale. If many people were injured due to one party’s negligence, those that were injured could file a mass tort case and bring all those that were affected in to display evidence.
In this post, we will go through the differences between mass torts and class action lawsuits, some examples of what a mass tort case can be, the benefits of a mass tort, and how multidistrict litigation works in these kinds of cases.
The Difference Between Class Action Lawsuits and Mass Torts
For the most part, the difference between a class action suit and a mass tort is how the injured plaintiffs are represented. Also, mass torts typically have less people involved than a class action lawsuit.
Both of these involve a large group of plaintiffs however, and the main difference is that in a class action lawsuit, there is a representative that acts as the spokesperson of the group of plaintiffs. This person is known as a class representative.
For mass torts, each plaintiff is represented as an individual and must prove their case for their specific circumstances. The plaintiffs could all suffer from the same injury in a mass tort but they will all have to prove how their injury was due to some kind of negligence from the defendant.
Examples Of Mass Tort Lawsuits
There have been mass tort lawsuits in the past, usually against product manufacturers that released a defective product that was known to cause widespread injury. These are known as product liability lawsuits and are typically much stronger as mass tort suits.
Products like over-the-counter drugs and weed killers have been held liable for injuries their product caused many people. Sometimes, these cases can get up to hundreds of plaintiffs from all over the country.
What Benefits Do Mass Torts Provide?
The best way people can benefit from mass tort cases is from pooling together enough evidence to make every individual claim stronger. Also, it is much easier to file a suit against a large company who has much more funds available to get into a long court battle with many plaintiffs.
The cost of proving these cases could get significant and having many people who suffered the same kind of injury come together to afford a bigger case will be much better than doing it alone.
Mass tort cases are basically just a more effective way to file a personal injury lawsuit against a large entity who injured many people in the same fashion. They are a way that allows people to share the burden of proof and court costs that are extremely important in personal injury cases, especially against large corporations or manufacturers.
Multidistrict Litigation and Class Action In Mass Torts
A common part of most mass tort lawsuits is multidistrict litigation (MDL). More times than not, plaintiffs in a mass tort lawsuit will live in many different locations.
For example, if the mass tort lawsuit is against a manufacturer who released unsafe over-the-counter drugs nationwide, there could be plaintiffs from all over the country. As you can expect, this can lead to the court being completely overwhelmed with cases coming from all over.
So the modern mass tort lawsuits can include multidistrict litigation and class actions. Both of these systems accomplish the same thing in handling multiple claims against the same defendant but go about it in different ways.
Class action binds together all of the plaintiffs and considers them under one particular case, while multidistrict litigation will consider all lawsuits separate but based around similar facts. For these cases, they are consolidated and general causation is proven on behalf of all the victims.
Multidistrict litigations require every plaintiff to file a claim and only those that file these claims will be eligible to get a settlement. For class action suits, all those that were involved can be eligible for a settlement unless an individual “opts out” of the case altogether.
How similar the damages are is usually what determines whether a mass tort claim goes in as a multidistrict litigation or a class action. Cases where the damages are very similar usually will end up as class action because all the damages can be consolidated as one case affecting many people in the same way.
Multidistrict litigations on the other hand, will usually have similar damages between all the plaintiffs but there will be some differences. Each plaintiff needs to prove their own case, so you can expect there to be some differences between the damages which can result in different settlements for different plaintiffs.
For class action mass torts, every plaintiff should split the same amount of the entire compensation because it was handled as one case. However, multidistrict litigations can be beneficial to those who suffered more severe injuries as they can receive more compensation than those who only suffered minor injuries.
Contact Trusted Lawyers for Mass Torts
Mass torts are something that most people who have not studied law do not know about, but they can be extraordinarily effective against large corporations in personal injury cases. Although, having an attorney that is experienced in handling these kinds of cases is integral to their success.
Fortunately, legal organizations such as Law Leaders have a team of committed lawyers that have helped injured Americans achieve compensation for all kinds of different personal injury claims. The expert lawyers at Law Leaders can work with the many plaintiffs involved in mass tort cases and help all of them achieve the compensation they need to heal from their injuries without having to worry about their personal finances.
Contact Law Leaders today to learn how they can help you get the justice you deserve!