Mass Tort Lawyer
When multiple people are injured by the same party or parties, they might have unique damages they need to recover. Though they have different damages, the core of their case might be the same as others suffering from a similar problem. When this happens, something known as a mass tort might be the best option for their recovery.
If you’re uncertain whether you have a mass tort claim or a class action case, it’s important to speak with a skilled lawyer that is well versed in both areas of practice. While they’re similar, the results a person can obtain through a mass tort when compared to a class action lawsuit can be drastically different. Don’t make a uniformed choice that you may later regret. Contact the skilled mass tort lawyers at The G Law Group today for a no obligation free consultation and find out what the best option is for you and your loved ones. You may click the link above and schedule your consultation today.
What Is a Mass Tort?
A mass tort is a legal action in response to a wrongful act that causes harm to a number of people. A mass tort is different from a class action in that mass torts involve individually filed cases in which damages are considered on a case-by-case basis. A class action, on the other hand, involves combining all of the plaintiffs into a group or "class" and litigating all of the claims as one large case with the damages later divided between the plaintiffs. However, there are differences in how plaintiffs can be awarded compensation for their losses.
Examples, where a mass tort lawsuit may be filed, include:
Production of a pharmaceutical that has harmful side effects that cause injury or illness to a large group of people, e.g., Zantac.
Creation of a medical device that malfunctions, resulting in injuries, e.g., Profemur Hip Implant.
Development of a defective product that causes physical injuries or economic harm to many people, e.g., Paraquat.
A commercial airliner crash that kills or injures many people because of the airline’s negligence, e.g., Sriwijaya Air Flight 182.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Mass Torts?
All civil lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations, or a deadline you must file your lawsuit by, or the court will dismiss it. Since each state sets these different deadlines, the statute of limitations for a mass tort depends on several factors, such as where you live and where you are filing your claim.
In some states the mass tort statute of limitations is only two years from the date of your injury. However, in other states you have four years from the date of incident to file a lawsuit. Since every state is different, it is important to speak to an experienced mass tort lawyer to identify your deadline as soon as possible.
What Are the Most Common Types of Mass Tort Lawsuits?
While mass tort lawsuits may be filed for any type of negligent act that results in injuries to a group of individuals, there are several types of mass tort lawsuits that are more common than others.
Some of the most common types of mass tort lawsuits include:
Defective Product Mass Tort
A defective product mass tort results when a company produces and supplies a product to consumers, and people who purchase the product are injured in some manner. In this case, a consumer who has been injured may consult a mass tort lawyer for an evaluation of their case. If a direct causal link between the injury and the defective product can be established, other consumers that have been injured may join in the action as well. This results in a defective product mass tort lawsuit. Examples of such recalls include Takata Airbags and the Samsung Note 7 Smartphone.
Dangerous Drugs Mass Tort
If a pharmaceutical company produces a drug that causes harmful side effects to multiple people, a dangerous drugs mass tort lawsuit may be filed on behalf of injured plaintiffs. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with ensuring that products are safe before they’re marketed to the public. If a product passes FDA oversight but causes multiple injuries once it is consumed or used, the manufacturer may be the subject of a lawsuit. Examples include Elmiron, Depakote, and Tepezza.
Dangerous Medical Device Mass Tort
A medical device that fails or doesn’t perform its intended function may result in an injury to an individual. If multiple people sustain the same or similar injuries because of the device’s malfunction, a defective medical device mass tort lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer. Examples include the Power Morcellator and the IVC Filter.
What Constitutes Negligence in a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
Negligence is generally defined in the U.S. legal system according to a set of five standards. Proving negligence requires that each of these standards has been met, and that the negligence resulted in some type of injury, whether physical, financial, or emotional in nature.
In its most general form, the law requires that each individual must behave in a manner that includes acceptable standards of safe conduct. In addition to individuals, negligence law applies to companies and entities.
Each element of negligence is explained in detail below:
The first element of negligence involves establishing a duty of care. You must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care not to cause you or others harm.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when there is a failure to exercise reasonable care. Thus, the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to exercise reasonable care and failed in performing that duty.
Cause in Fact
Cause in fact, or causation, occurs when the injuries sustained by the plaintiff directly resulted from a breach of duty on behalf of the defendant.
The fourth element of negligence involves proving that the defendant directly caused the injury through their actions. Thus, the nearest source of the injury was not through outside forces, but directly occurred because of the defendant’s breach of duty.
The final element requires proof that harm occurred because of the negligent act. The harm may be physical, financial, or emotional. If the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, but the victims did not suffer any provable harm, legal negligence is not established. Actual damages must have been sustained for a negligence claim to have merit.
To receive a monetary award for your mass tort, you will need to prove all five elements of negligence. A skilled mass tort lawyer can help you gather sworn statements, witness testimony, hire experts, and secure any other evidence needed to prove the above elements of negligence.
How are Mass Tort Damages Assessed?
Mass tort damages differ based on the harm everyone has actually experienced. You can claim both tangible, out-of-pocket economic damages and intangible non-economic damages in a mass tort case.
Common types of damages in mass tort cases include the following:
Past and future medical expenses
Physical therapy costs
Lost wages and loss of future earnings
Mental health damages, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
Loss of quality of life
Disability and disfigurement
An experienced mass tort lawyer will help you collect the evidence necessary to prove your economic damages and determine the amount of non-economic damages you may qualify for.
What are the Benefits of a Mass Tort Case?
Mass tort cases usually result in larger individual settlements than what members of a group would normally receive as a portion of the settlement or award because the mass tort requires that all cases be considered on their own merits and settlements be awarded based on the damages that each plaintiff has suffered as a result of their injury. Other benefits of this method of resolving multiple cases against the same defendant include:
Streamlining the legal process by allowing all the individual cases to be combined for the purpose of discovery and other pre-trial proceedings.
The ability to use other cases involved in the mass tort to effectively make a clear argument about the negative effects that were caused by the product, drug, or medical device.
Ensuring that each plaintiff has the benefit of all the arguments being made against the defendant.
Ensuring that individuals in the future will not suffer the same injury due to the company's negligence.
While it is generally considered a benefit that each case in a mass tort is treated individually, this increases the requirements placed on each plaintiff to prove their own case, including proving their injuries and damages.
Why Do You Need a Mass Tort Lawyer?
Handling a mass tort litigation claim alone can be daunting, especially after a serious injury or illness. Hiring a mass tort lawyer to represent your case can provide several benefits to you.
You will need to identify other plaintiffs who may have experienced the same harm to file a mass tort claim. Your mass tort lawyer can expedite this process on your behalf.
Mass tort litigation is a more complex legal area than many other types of cases. An experienced mass tort lawyer will have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through all the steps to file and prove your claim.
You will need to face large corporate legal teams in the courtroom during a mass tort case. Having mass tort lawyers with the experience and financial backing to prosecute your claim can oftentimes make the difference between accepting a low initial settlement offer and getting the full compensation you deserve. Do not sell yourself short, speak with a skilled mass tort lawyer before you make any final decisions regarding your claim.
Call our top-rated Mass Tort Lawyers now at (305) 486-7468 or click the link below for a free and confidential consultation. You deserve to know what your options are, and we’re ready to help you explore them.