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What is a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
How It Differs from Class-Action

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

When a large group of people has been wronged by one action, they may have cause for mass tort lawsuits. If you aren’t sure what mass torts are or how this lawsuit is different from a class-action lawsuit, Schmidt & Clark is here to help.

We are one of the nation’s leading plaintiff law firms, and we have experience handling cases in all 50 states.  Whether you’re an individual or a large group who’s been wronged, we are ready to help you.

Here’s everything you should know about mass tort cases.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Mass torts are lawsuits on a large scale. A group of injured people sues one defendant for damages.
  • Most common tort lawsuit includes a defective product or medical equipment.
  • Class action lawsuits and torts have several crucial differences.

Mass Tort Lawsuit: Definition

2 pills, gavel top view

A tort is a civil wrong, where one person injures or commits an act that injures another person. 

The person who is injured is referred to as the plaintiff. The person who is being sued is referred to as the defendant.

Plaintiffs in mass tort litigation are usually people who have suffered a grave physical or financial injury due to the negligence of one big corporation.

A mass tort is an act that causes injury to a group of people. This large group of plaintiffs sues the defendant.

If found guilty of committing the tort, the defendant is liable for damages. Mass tort claims are used to lower the number of court cases. Instead of each plaintiff suing the same defendant individually, plaintiffs do it as a group.

This makes it easier for plaintiffs to succeed against giant corporation defendants, such as medical device and medication manufacturers. One attorney or a group of attorneys represent all the plaintiffs in a mass tort action.

The attorneys use the investigation findings for all the plaintiff cases. Mass tort actions can be filed in a state or federal court. 

Also read: What is a Third-Party Lawsuit?

5 Types of Mass Torts

Medical form lady justiceUsually, torts are brought to civil court, ranging from bodily injury to negligence to defamation.

However, according to The Federal Tort Claims Act of 1947, torts can be brought against a person in the federal government. [1]

The most common types of torts include lawsuits due to:

  1. Defective and dangerous drugs
  2. Defective products
  3. Catastrophic accidents
  4. Mass disaster
  5. Toxic conditions

Mass Tort vs Class Actions

Stethoscope, gavel, law book A mass tort claim and a class action lawsuit differ from each other in terms of how the court treats the plaintiffs.

In a mass tort, plaintiffs have individual lawsuits. If they are awarded compensation, it will be based on each person’s damages.

In class actions, all claims are consolidated into one lawsuit, and the plaintiffs aren’t treated as individual victims.

Instead, in class action suits, a large group of plaintiffs is considered as an entire class. 

As the name suggests, the class representatives represent the interests of a group of individuals instead of each individual separately.  If the court approves the class action suit, individuals may end up receiving little to no money.

This is because their claims aren’t treated individually; they are treated as a group, even if they don’t have the same grievance. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure establish the criteria for class action lawsuits, while that’s not the case for legal action in case of a tort.

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How Long Do Tort Cases Take?

How long tort cases take depends on the case. Mass torts can be resolved in a matter of months, or they can take years. Some cases have been going on for several decades.

What Legal Services Do You Need?

While both torts and class action lawsuits include large groups of people suing one defendant, the difference between them is in the damages the plaintiff receives.  In the court system, potential plaintiffs in a tort lawsuit usually have a better chance of receiving greater damages because their claim is seen as a single lawsuit.

Whether you’re seeking compensation for a tort or a class action, our law firm can help. We at Schmidt & Clark, LLP offer legal advice and free consultation for different types of lawsuits. 

Our mass tort attorneys specialize in defending groups of plaintiffs in cases of pharmaceutical claims, damaged products, and similar cases.

Contact us as soon as today, and schedule your free consultation.