A mass tort arises when many plaintiffs are affected by the same injuries due to the same cause. They often occur because of dangerous products, services, or circumstances, such as:
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective products
- Unsafe medical devices
- Large data breaches
- Employment claims against large employers
- Contamination and exposure damages
The plaintiffs combine efforts to address a dangerous situation as one unit. This type of claim has a lot of advantages to plaintiffs. It can increase the power that people have to remove unsafe products or devices from the market. It can also significantly cut down on the costs of an individual case.
Once a product or device has harmed you, you may start to research the injury and realize that your situation is very similar to someone else’s circumstances. If that seems like the case for you, then you may want to consider becoming a part of a mass tort lawsuit.
What is the Difference Between a Mass Tort and a Class Action?
Both class actions and mass torts involve many plaintiffs who have suffered similar harms. However, the main difference between these two types of actions is how a plaintiff is treated.
Mass tort actions usually have a smaller number of individuals involved, but not always. Each plaintiff still has to prove all of the elements of their case. Those generally include:
- A duty to the plaintiff
- That duty was breached or violated
- The violation caused your harm
- You suffered damages because of the breach
Many mass tort actions involve many plaintiffs from the same geographic area, as well.
A class action is often bigger, and there is only one case that moves forward. The entire class is represented by one person, who is referred to as a class representative. Once that person proves their case, then the whole class is treated similarly. The entire class is really treated as one plaintiff rather than a group of many plaintiffs.
How Do Class Actions or Mass Torts Start?
In a class-action lawsuit, everyone who might be in the class should be notified of a potential suit. They then have the option to opt-in or find their own attorney to address their claim. A class cannot be established unless an attorney requests that a group of people is classified as a class, and the class meets very strict requirements.
In a mass tort, on the other hand, there are fewer restrictions compared to determining a class for a class action. The plaintiffs in the group may have similar situations, but they are not exactly the same. They might have slightly different facts or circumstances that make them too different to be considered a class, for example.
Mass Torts and Dangerous Drugs or Medical Devices
Mass torts are often used to address dangerous drugs and medical devices. Part of the reason that plaintiffs cannot be considered a class is due to the fact that reactions to drugs are very different from person to person.
Although you and another person have had similar side effects, for example, your damages may not be as extensive or may be even more extensive than someone else. Those differences make most mass tort plaintiffs unable to participate as members of a class-action lawsuit.
What Should I Do If I Have a Mass Tort Claim?
If you think you have a mass tort claim, it can be challenging to know what to do next. Getting just any attorney may not be a good idea for these more complicated cases. Instead, you need someone who has experience with mass tort claims and can present your case well and work with the rest of the mass tort plaintiffs.
VG Law Group, LLP has the experience you need, and we can provide you with knowledgeable services that are appropriate to your unique situation. Call today to set up an appointment or to get more information: 1-833-HELP-365.