A tort is a legal term that refers to a party committing a civil wrong against another party, resulting in an injury. Common types of tort cases include personal injury lawsuits, product liability claims, and employment litigation. Often, torts have one or two plaintiffs—but if a large group of people suffer similar injuries due to the same negligent actions, they may qualify for a mass tort. These large-scale lawsuits allow a large number of people to file claims against the same party for their individual injuries.
What Is a Mass Tort Claim?
A mass tort lawsuit is a type of civil legal action that involves a group of individuals filing a claim against the same party. Instead of having each individual file similar, separate claims, a mass tort consolidates these complaints to save time and court resources.
Many people conflate mass torts with class action lawsuits, which also involve a large number of plaintiffs alleging the same injuries. Unlike a class action lawsuit, mass torts do not have to undergo legal certification. Although they file as a group, courts treat mass tort plaintiffs as individuals and assign settlements based on each plaintiff’s unique injuries. In class action lawsuits, courts divide settlements evenly between all individuals involved.
Common Causes of Mass Torts
Mass tort lawsuits typically involve negligence on the part of an entity, whether it be a manufacturer, a government agency, or an employer who engages in wide-scale harm. These claims usually fall into one of the following categories.
- Defective medical devices: Manufacturers who produce medical devices that cause mass injury or harm due to a defect can face liability in a mass tort claim. Medical devices that have been the subject of mass litigation include transvaginal mesh and hip replacements.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals: Whether at work, at home, or due to a dangerous or defective product, victims who suffer injuries or illnesses due to toxic substance exposure may have grounds for a mass tort claim. Asbestos, mold, pesticides, lead paint chips, and soil or groundwater contamination have been the subject of these lawsuits.
- Defective consumer products: Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe and contain adequate information so consumers can use them safely. If they fail to ensure product safety, consumers may hold them liable in a mass tort claim over a manufacturing defect, design flaw, or failure to warn.
- Dangerous medications: Pharmaceutical companies may inadvertently release prescription or over-the-counter medications that cause dangerous side effects, such as the development of cancer or kidney damage. Plaintiffs who have experienced this harm on a wide scale can file mass tort claims against drug manufacturers.
What to Do If You Believe You Qualify for a Mass Tort Claim
Suffering an injury can have a serious impact on your daily life. You may face financial hardship due to medical bills and lost wages, psychological trauma, physical pain, and a reduced quality of life. Filing a mass tort claim allows you to claim compensation for these life-altering damages. If you believe you suffered an injury that qualifies for mass litigation, it is important to seek help from a mass tort lawyer.
Your lawyer can evaluate your case and determine if there are any existing lawsuits you can join or initiate a mass tort on your behalf. Working with a mass tort attorney will provide several benefits to your case, including expert witness testimony, access to recent scientific developments, and legal knowledge necessary to guide you through the process.
Contact your San Diego mass tort lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.