Mass tort litigation helps a group of injury victims pursue a lawsuit against a company or other entity. These cases work a great deal like a personal injury lawsuit but include more than one injury victim.
However, mass tort litigation is also different from a class-action lawsuit because if the plaintiffs win, the final settlement amount is not split evenly between the victims. Instead, the courts look to compensate each plaintiff based on their damages.
The most common type of mass tort claim is for dangerous or defective drugs. If you’re wondering what to expect in a mass tort litigation case, this article is a great place to start.
Mass Tort Litigation Process
Like any type of legal situation, each case is unique. But there is a general process you can expect to encounter with a mass tort litigation case.
- Attorneys representing the various victims will review the case evidence, including the injuries of each plaintiff. Understanding the evidence will help the attorneys prove that it was one dangerous product or situation that led to the many injuries.
- Next, the attorneys representing the injury victims will file a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in federal court.
- At this point, the case might proceed where there is one class representative for the injury victims. These cases are heard in federal courts.
- Each attorney will present the impacts that their client has suffered due to their injuries. This process is important since each plaintiff will be awarded part of the total settlement based on the impacts they suffered.
How Long Do Mass Tort Cases Take?
The timeline for mass tort cases will vary based on many factors. Sometimes cases move along quickly and the victims can collect their settlements to offset their expenses. Other times, the following factors make the case take many months.
- Locating expert witnesses and scheduling a time for their testimony
- Collecting information and evidence from the various plaintiffs in the case
- Investigating the many pieces of evidence
- Out-of-court settlement negotiations don’t go well or the defendant isn’t willing to negotiate
In cases where the defendant is unwilling to negotiate a settlement outside of court, these cases generally take many years to resolve. But you should be aware of your state’s statute of limitations on the type of injury claim you’re making. You’ll still need to file your lawsuit within that time frame regardless of when the claim is resolved.
Common Types of Mass Tort Claims
Because mass tort claims involve cases where there are many injury victims, it’s not surprising that there are a few common types of mass tort claims.
- Prescription drugs
- Product liability, especially for medical devices
- Toxic contamination that involves hazardous pollutants or chemicals that poison or otherwise harm many people
Damages You Can Pursue in a Mass Tort Case
The damages you can seek in a mass tort case mirror those that you can pursue in a personal injury case. These damages include:
- Medical bills, both existing and future bills for ongoing treatment
- Missed work due to your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
You might not know that the best way to pursue damages for injuries from defective products, drugs, or harmful chemicals is through a mass tort case. The best way to learn about this is through discussing your injuries with a personal injury attorney.
Attorneys are skilled at recognizing recurring injury victims and staying aware of pending class-action lawsuits that might apply to your case. At Stewart & Stewart, we help injury victims recover financially through individual lawsuits or group cases, such as mass tort cases. Schedule your free consultation now.