What Mass Tort Lawyers Do
A tort is wrongdoing on the part of a person or entity that results in an injury or distress to another individual. A tort can also cause financial loss or property damage. The tortfeasor is the person who commits the tort, and he or she is legally responsible for the harm caused.
Types of Mass Torts
A mass tort is then a tort that causes many people to get injured, mostly due to negligent behavior from the person or company. In the legal realm, most mass tort claims come from one of these scenarios:
- Drugs: Pharmaceutical claims are common mass tort claims. A surprising amount of drugs are not properly tested by their manufacturers. Because of this, these drugs may cause harm to masses of people. These drugs are eventually taken out of the market, but not without first hurting many. The pharmaceutical company who produced the drug may be legally liable for the damages the drug caused.
- Consumer products: Malfunctioning car parts, contaminated food, and dangerous toys might cause injuries to consumers. These consumers may seek compensation for their injuries.
- Oil leaks and other contaminants: Environmental torts can cause a wide array of injuries to residents. Contaminated water is a frequent subject of these mass tort cases.
In cases of mass tort, the victims need to ask the court for permission to file a single lawsuit. The court will consider the amount of plaintiffs involved, the location of the plaintiffs, similarities in the plaintiffs’ injuries, and whether the claims are associated with the same cause – for example, the same product.
Once all the above are considered, the court may decide that the case is a mass tort action and will assign the case to a judge. Oftentimes, the judge requires that a notice of the lawsuit be published in the newspaper in order to notify other potential plaintiffs about the lawsuit. This gives other potential plaintiffs the opportunity to also file a claim.
Mass tort actions differ from class actions in that in mass tort actions the plaintiffs each have a separate accusation against the defendant from different, separate damages suffered. Each plaintiff gets a trial on his or her own. Also, in a mass tort action, each victim gets more compensation than in a class action. In a class action, the many plaintiffs typically are not considered individually, and there is only one trial.
Mass tort is part of personal injury law, but it can also involve many other areas of the law, including:
- Insurance law
- Product liability law
- Antitrust law
- Employment discrimination law
- And more
This is a very broad area. Therefore, a qualified attorney is required to handle these cases. Both state and federal laws are involved in mass tort actions. Some mass tort action lawsuits can come from these possible scenarios:
- Railroad accidents
- Airplane accidents
- Discriminatory actions
- Defective product injuries
Regardless of the cause of the injury, in cases of mass tort an experienced attorney is vital in order for the process to go through properly. Your lawyer can help identify the proof you need to file your claim and whether other claims have already been filed against the individual or entity that harmed you.