Every so often, when a group of plaintiffs suffers some sort of physical and/or financial harm due to corporate negligence, they may file a class action or mass tort lawsuit to protect their rights. While you may have already heard of class action lawsuits, you may be less familiar with mass tort claims. These types of claims, although worded differently, provide a similar form for judicial relief
For example, both types of procedural actions involve:
Moreover, the key difference between mass torts and class actions has to do with how, procedurally, the large group of plaintiffs is treated.
When a group of individuals is involved in a situation that results in injury or other damages, a class action lawsuit can be filed. Class action claims help reduce how many individual cases will be filed when more than one person has been harmed. For example, if a business is accused of overcharging customers for a product or service, a class action lawsuit will allow the courts to decide on all claims filed through a single claim. Class action claims often bring about corporate change.
The following steps must be taken for a class action lawsuit to proceed:
Furthermore, the compensation received by each individual involved must not be worth the time and costs of hiring an attorney for an individual case.
Mass torts are brought against one, or a few, corporate defendants. These lawsuits represent a large group of people who’ve been injured on a large scale; this includes mass disaster torts such as mass toxic tort claims and product liability torts. Individual claims involving the same product or defect that are not allowed to proceed as a class action are referred to as mass tort claims. These are individual claims bundled together for pre-trial proceedings in order to save time and money. This is either done in state court by consolidating the cases, or in federal court through Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). At the end of the pre-trial proceedings, the individual claims are sent back to the jurisdictions in which they were filed for trial.
Similar to class action lawsuits, mass torts can be used to reduce the number of court cases brought by the individuals affected. Individual victims are represented by an attorney or group of attorneys. Typically, the attorney will use their investigation findings for all cases filed. The resources, findings, and ideals of a nationwide network of attorneys is used to certify that claimants receive fair settlements.
Because of their structure, mass torts tend to be more complicated than class action lawsuits. Some examples of mass torts include lawsuits against manufacturers of defective drugs and manufacturers of defective products. It is of the utmost importance that you recognize the difference between a class action and mass tort claim.