How Do I Know if I Have a Mass Tort Claim?
Mass tort claims are a form of litigation which aims to hold businesses accountable for harming their consumers. These claims differ from individual product liability claims and class action lawsuits.
Although you may have suffered from an injury caused by a product, you may not necessarily qualify for a mass tort claim. So, how do you know if your injury case is eligible for a mass tort claim?
What is a Mass Tort Claim?
A mass tort claim is a type of legal action that involves multiple plaintiffs suing one or multiple defendants, which almost always includes businesses. Mass torts are civil cases, in which the result of such litigation is financial compensation.
Mass tort litigation claims are related to corporate negligence and the harm that results from that negligence. The plaintiffs in mass tort cases may know one another. For example, the residents of a neighborhood may pursue a mass tort claim because their area was polluted by a manufacturing plant, resulting in the proliferation of disease. However, it is common for an attorney to consolidate claims from individuals who do not know each other because their cases are similar. Pursuing a mass tort case instead of multiple individual claims substantiates each claim, and often increases the likelihood of a successful verdict or settlement.
Mass Torts vs. Product Liability Claims vs. Class Action Lawsuits
Mass torts, product liability claims, and class action litigation are all related to injuries that result from the use of an item, or because of a business’s negligence. Car recalls, dangerous drugs and medical devices, and toxic exposure claims are all common subjects of these types of cases. Each of these cases differs in their scope and the way the legal processes are carried out.
Product liability cases are focused on the claims of one plaintiff only. It is possible for a family to pursue a product liability case, but their claims are typically related to a single victim’s injuries, and one person may serve as the plaintiff. A single plaintiff may be represented by one attorney or a small legal team.
Conversely, mass torts and class action lawsuits involve multiple plaintiffs. However, they differ in the typical number of plaintiffs that are included, as well as the way the case is presented.
Evidence in Mass Tort Claims
Plaintiffs who are involved in a class action lawsuit are considered as one unit, and evidence is presented on behalf of all of the people included in the litigation. A representing attorney or legal team may compile the evidence into a single presentation which exhibits the claims of all of the people impacted. For example, in a drug recall case, the lawyers may say that a medication caused all of their clients to develop cancer, rather than presenting the unique stories of each individual.
Mass tort cases are the opposite. Although litigation is brought forth as a group, each person is treated as their own case. The cases are linked to one another, but when presenting evidence, a plaintiff must share their own experiences. Using a drug recall as an example again, each person would have to explain the disease or injuries they sustained, and their individual symptoms.
If you were injured because of the use of a dangerous or defective product, contact our attorneys to learn if you qualify to pursue a mass tort claim.
To schedule a free consultation with the Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. legal team, complete our contact form or call (419) 318-0772.