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What is a Mass Tort Lawsuit?

Published: Nov 30, 2016 in Class Action Lawsuits, Personal Injury

A tort is a wrongful act or infringement of a right committed by one party that results in injury to another. The most common type of tort is negligence, which is usually the basis for liability in motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or product liability cases. In a mass tort lawsuit, plaintiffs who have been injured by a single tort, join together in one civil action against the responsible party or parties. Mass tort lawsuits allow victims to consolidate their resources and reduce the costs of pursuing litigation individually.

Mass Tort vs. Class Action

While most people have heard of class actions lawsuits, you may be less familiar with mass tort cases. Class action and mass tort lawsuits are similar in that both involve a large number of plaintiffs and a consolidation of claims against common defendants. However, the two types of lawsuits differ in how the plaintiffs’ claims are treated procedurally.

A class action must be certified by the court and have a class representative meaning that claims are not treated separately but as one plaintiff. Mass torts tend to involve a broader range of injuries and do not meet the criteria for class certification. This is significant because plaintiffs’ damages in a mass tort lawsuit are individualized.

In order to proceed with a mass tort claim, the court must first grant permission. The court will typically consider the following factors in deciding whether to grant permission:

  • The number of plaintiffs involved
  • The geographical proximity of the plaintiffs to one another
  • The similarity of their injuries and
  • Whether the claims brought by the plaintiffs are closely associated with a common cause

Most Common Types of Mass Tort Lawsuits

Defective pharmaceuticals: These cases involve injuries due to over-the-counter or prescription drugs because of defects or inadequate warnings.

Dangerous consumer products: This involves any type of consumer product that causes injuries due to a design, manufacturing, or warning defect.

Defective medical devices: When medical devices do not work properly because of a manufacturing or design defect, it can cause significant injuries. The companies that designed or manufactured the medical device may be responsible for your injuries and other losses.

Disasters: Large-scale accidents such as plane crashes or train wrecks that result in injuries may give rise to a mass tort claim.

Toxic torts: A toxic tort occurs when an exposure to a dangerous chemical or substance results in an injury or illness. This can include things like oil spills, water contamination, or chemical leaks.

Contact Our Federal Class Action Lawyers for Help

If you have been injured by a defective product, dangerous drug, or toxic exposure that was caused by another person or company, you may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Physical pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of use of property

The federal class action lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. can help you decide if your case should be pursued as a class action or mass tort. Our experienced class action attorneys have handled cases involving defective products and medical devices, dangerous drugs, and environmental exposure. With more than 65 years of collective trial experience, we have the resources, skills, and knowledge to fight for the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Contact us today at (205) 933-1500 for a free consultation.