Mass tort claims involve multiple people filing lawsuits against the same defendant, alleging harm due to the defendant’s negligence. These claims usually involve defective or dangerous products, such as medications or medical devices, that cause injury to consumers. By filing a lawsuit, plaintiffs can seek compensation for the losses they sustained due to the defendant’s actions.
If you suffer an injury due to a defective medication, you may want to join a mass tort claim to recover the compensatory damages you deserve. However, these complex claims can take a year or more to reach a conclusion, and many factors may lengthen the time it takes to recover compensation.
The Mass Tort Claim Process
While each case is different, most mass tort claims follow the same basic process. Usually, the attorneys representing individual lawsuits that make up the tort file each one in the appropriate civil courts. After the initial filing, the attorneys will request the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to join all of the cases into one multidistrict litigation (MDL), and the cases will enter the discovery process.
During discovery, both parties will exchange evidence, depose witnesses and experts, and collect testimony to aid in the future claim. After this process concludes, the court will select a handful of individual claims to act as bellwether trials and rule on whether or not each bellwether plaintiff deserves compensation. Depending on the outcome of these trials, the attorneys will either attempt to reach a global settlement with the defendant or proceed to trial.
Factors That Influence the Length of a Mass Tort Claim
Since they involve a larger number of plaintiffs, mass tort claims are more complex than individual product liability lawsuits. Your case may take a longer time to reach settlement if it involves any of the following factors.
- A high number of individual plaintiffs
- Injuries that require medical validation
- A defendant who is unwilling to settle or cooperate with the claim
- Certain types of products that require expert witness testimony, such as defective medications
- Severe injuries that require high amounts of compensation to recover from
- The need for attorneys to travel to different states to collect evidence, speak to witnesses, or conduct investigations
Why Wait for a Mass Tort Settlement?
While MDLs can take a long time to reach a settlement, filing a lawsuit is necessary for your recovery. By not filing a claim, you will have to pay for the damages you incur alone — which may include thousands of dollars in uncovered medical expenses, lost wages, and disability accommodations. In addition, you will not receive compensation for the physical and emotional pain you endure due to the company’s negligence. Filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer is necessary to recover the compensation you deserve.
You should also pursue your claim to the furthest extent possible to ensure the settlement you receive is enough to cover your damages. Accepting a settlement offer before you know the total cost of your injuries will likely leave you without a good portion of the funds you need to pay for your future expenses.
To protect your best interests, speak to a mass tort lawyer as soon as possible after you discover your injuries. Your lawyer will help you understand the full value of your claim, as well as inform you of your legal options and begin the initial steps to join a mass tort claim. If you have not done so already, speak to a mass torts attorney as soon as possible to begin the mass tort process.