A tort is a civil wrong committed by a person or company that results in physical or emotional harm, financial loss, or property damage. Pretty much every single case that personal injury lawyers deal with involves torts and tort laws. You are filing a lawsuit and seeking damages because you have experienced a tort.
So what’s a mass tort? It’s a single tort that causes injury to numerous victims. Like other personal injury cases, mass tort lawsuits usually include some form of negligence – the failure to use reasonable care. But in these situations that negligence impacted a large group of people.
Mass tort lawsuits are different from class action lawsuits. Class action lawsuits group the plaintiffs together for a single trial. In contrast, a mass tort lawsuit involves plaintiffs having their own individual claim and trial. Mass tort lawsuits usually award individual plaintiffs more compensation since they are handled on a case-by-case basis, whereas class action settlements are divided between all the plaintiffs.
There are several different types of common mass torts cases. Below you’ll find an overview.
Consumer Product Claims
When a product is put on the market for consumers to purchase and use, it must pass a number of tests to prove that it is safe for the public. Sometimes, however, faulty and dangerous products make it to the market and can cause harm – and even death – to consumers.
Dangerous toys, malfunctioning car parts, and contaminated food all fall under consumer products that could bring a mass tort if many people are injured as a result of using or consuming the product. The company who produces the product could be liable for any harm or injury sustained while using the product.
There are new drugs being created all the time to address numerous health issues and concerns. New drugs have to go through a rigorous testing and approval process in order to allow the public to use the drug.
Despite making it to the market, some drugs can have negative health consequences that are uncovered only after many people have used them. Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for ensuring that their drugs are safe and informing the drug users of any side effects. If a prescription drug (or even an over-the-counter one) has harmed you or someone you love, then the pharmaceutical company could be liable.
If a company damages the environment, there can be adverse effects not only for the actual land, but also for people in the surrounding vicinity. Toxic spills, illegal dumping, oil leaks, and pollution are only a few examples of actions that can harm the environment. Consequences of these actions could be water contamination, which could ruin tourism and the fishing industry, exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals, which could cause an array of health issues, and more.
Do You Have a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
If you think you have a mass tort lawsuit, contact an experienced tort lawyer immediately to discuss your situation. Your lawyer will go over the facts of the case and – if there’s enough evidence and plaintiffs – will ask for the court’s permission to file the lawsuit.
The court will look at a number of things to determine whether the lawsuit should go forward, such as:
- If there’s a large number of plaintiffs
- The location of the plaintiffs to each other
- If the plaintiffs’ injuries are similar
- If the plaintiff’s claims are due to a common cause (product, drug, etc.)
If the court determines it is in fact a mass tort case, then the case will be assigned a judge and the lawsuit can be made public so that other people who were harmed can come forward.
A knowledgeable tort lawyer can help determine if you have a mass tort case on your hands, so you should contact one today and be one step closer to the compensation you deserve.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.