Defending your rights in a mass tort is a job best entrusted to a lawyer with serious experience and ability. At Kelley/Uustal, we are prepared to protect your interests in a mass tort lawsuit. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys can help you advance your rights while protecting your future at this time.
What Is a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
Mass tort claims involve a single “tort” or civil – not criminal – wrong that results in injury or damage suffered by many people. Examples of common mass tort cases include defective or dangerous product claims and pharmaceutical injury claims. Class action lawsuits are similar but must adhere to a more narrow set of restrictions and specifics.
Types of Mass Tort Lawsuits
- Asbestos exposure
- Mold exposure
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Hip replacement injuries
- Table saw accidents
- Dangerous drugs
Difference Between a Class Action Lawsuit and Mass Tort
You will often find the terms “mass tort” and “class action” in conjunction with one another. While legal professionals use these terms alongside one another, they are two very different legal processes. Learning the differences and similarities between a class action suit and a mass tort can help you understand which might be best in your specific personal injury case. As always, the attorneys at Kelley/Uustal are available to discuss your claim with you and answer any questions you may have.
A class action is a type of mass tort claim. Mass torts and class actions both deal with large groups of plaintiffs who have allegedly suffered harms. Both legal procedures have the same common defendants who allegedly caused these harms. In both cases, the courts have consolidated many separate lawsuits into one legal action to save time and resources, and to make the legal process more efficient. Anyone with alleged harms against the common defendants can join a class action or mass tort and receive compensation should the case succeed.
Key Differences Between a Class Action and Mass Tort
A mass tort typically includes injuries to plaintiffs who reside in the same geographic location. A class action can have plaintiffs from all over the world. Mass torts often have fewer plaintiffs than class actions and are smaller cases in general. Class actions can be massive, encompassing hundreds of plaintiffs. One of the greatest differences is that in a mass tort, the courts treat each plaintiff as an individual.
In a mass tort, every single plaintiff will need to establish certain facts and elements, and the courts will look at how the defendant’s actions damaged each individual person in determining a verdict. In a class action, on the other hand, the courts treat the group of plaintiffs as one single “class.” A class representative will stand and embody the rest of the people in the class. The courts treat all the plaintiffs in a class action as one plaintiff, not individual plaintiffs.
In a class action, the representative files a single lawsuit on behalf of the rest of the class. Everyone in the class action must receive a notice of the suit, and have the chance to opt out or find private representation. The class representative will have to file a motion in court to act on behalf of the rest of the class before filing the actual lawsuit. The plaintiff should be able to show that his or her experience with the defendant is typical and representative of the experiences the majority of the others in the class have.
Which Type of Legal Action Do You Need?
After suffering a personal injury from a consumer product, talk to an attorney in Fort Lauderdale about joining a class action or mass tort. Mass torts are most appropriate when a defendant injures consumers on a large scale, such as in the production of a defective item. Bad drug claims can cause a variety of issues for different people, so the individuality of a mass tort makes the most sense. A class action might be the better choice if the claim meets the requirements for this type of lawsuit. A lawyer can help you decide which procedure is right for you.
Why Does a Mass Tort Matter to Me?
You might hear the phrase “mass tort” and think that it doesn’t apply to you as an individual injured person. Mass torts, however, can prove to be extremely useful legal processes for individuals. Joining a mass tort can be a much faster and more efficient way to recover compensation for your injuries. Becoming a plaintiff in a mass tort means joining your voice with others who have experienced similar grievances and benefitting from a group action. If you’re one of a large number of victims who are trying to sue a common defendant, permission to file a mass tort action could be your best move.
Types of claims that commonly turn into mass torts:
Pharmaceutical claims involving defective or dangerous drugs often take the form of mass torts. Despite federal safety and quality regulations, big pharmaceutical companies can produce and distribute medications that are dangerous for consumers. Different consumers can experience different symptoms, side effects, and harms from the same drug. Mass torts are ideal for drug-related claims because the courts treat each plaintiff as an individual.
- Defective Medical Devices
Millions of patients rely on medical devices to save their lives, control symptoms, and improve health outcomes. When a life-saving medical device has a defect or design flaw, the outcome can be deadly. Patients with injuries from defective medical devices, or the surviving family members of deceased loved ones, can go up against the manufacturer in an individual claim – or join a mass tort with fellow victims the same device also injured. Filing a mass tort often gives plaintiffs better odds of going up against major corporations.
- Consumer Product Liability Claims
Consumer products such as children’s toys, auto parts, household appliances, electrical tools, playground equipment, and food and beverage products can contain defects that make them dangerous for use. If you suffer an injury because of a defective consumer good, you probably aren’t the only one. The manufacturer might have made the same error on a whole line of products, resulting in multiple victims with similar claims. This would likely lead to a mass tort action.
An environmental tort, or toxic tort, is a legal claim in which the plaintiff alleges exposure to a harmful chemical or dangerous substance that caused injury, illness, or disease. Environmental mass torts often involve a single company or corporation that polluted a landscape or building, causing harm to everyone exposed to the substance. Exposure at work and through dangerous pharmaceutical products are two common reasons for environmental tort claims.
How to Join a Mass Tort in Fort Lauderdale
Joining a mass tort takes a trustworthy lawyer with years of hands-on experience with these types of claims. Kelley/Uustal is this law firm for injured parties in Fort Lauderdale. Our injury attorneys can help you evaluate your case, understand how much you could be eligible to receive, and take the necessary steps to join an ongoing mass tort – or start one of your own. Mass torts do not have the same narrow restrictions as class actions, and are generally suitable for any plaintiff who is suing a common defendant with other plaintiffs.
Contact Our Florida Mass Torts Lawyer
The attorney representing the injury victims must petition the court in order to file a mass tort action. Various factors will be examined before permission can be granted, including the number and location of plaintiffs, and the similarity of their injuries and their cause. If permission is granted, a judge will most likely be assigned to the case. Learn more about your rights and your options by contacting the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at Kelley/Uustal. We understand how these cases work and are prepared to offer the focused, nuanced, and effective advocacy necessary to preserve your rights and to uphold your claim. Our mission is very simple: to prevent and protect, to fight for justice, and to punish intentional wrongdoing. Call the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at Kelley/Uustal today to schedule your free consultation and to learn more.