When a large corporation releases a harmful product or drug to the masses, thousands of people may be affected. Victims often endure costly medical treatments, lost wages from missing work, and pain and suffering. While each injured person has the option of filing their individual claim against the company, it is common for claimants to join forces.
Most people are familiar with class actions but may be new to mass torts. Although both kinds of lawsuits involve a group of claimants, the main difference with mass torts is how these parties are viewed in a court case.
Contact a Fasig | Brooks mass tort lawyer to represent your claim if your situation qualifies you for mass tort litigation.
Compensation in a Mass Tort Claim
Mass tort damages will vary depending on the harm each plaintiff experiences. As a mass tort victim, you can claim both measurable, out-of-pocket economic damages and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, that are more challenging to quantify.
Common types of damages in mass tort participants include the following:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy expenses
- Mental health damages, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of quality of life
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Modifications and renovations to accommodate a disability
A lawyer for mass torts can help you gather the evidence necessary to calculate your economic damages and determine the amount of non-economic damages you may be entitled to.
Why You Need a Mass Tort Attorney
Navigating the mass tort litigation process alone can be overwhelming, especially after an illness or injury. Hiring a mass tort attorney to represent your claim can provide you with several benefits.
An attorney can identify other defendants who may have experienced the same problems and file a mass tort claim. Mass tort law is a complex legal area, and a qualified attorney will have the knowledge and resources to guide you through the steps to file your claim and prove your case.
You will be going up against corporate legal teams that want to pay out as little as possible. A Fasig | Brooks mass tort lawyer with experience in product liability will know how to negotiate effectively with these parties on your behalf.
Statute of Limitations for Mass Torts
Like other civil lawsuits, mass torts are subject to time limits known as statutes of limitations. If you do not file your case by this deadline, the court will dismiss it. Since each state, including Florida, establishes these deadlines, the time limit for filing a mass tort depends on where you live, where you are filing your claim, and sometimes additional factors.
For most mass torts, the statute of limitations is two or three years from the date you were injured. In some states, if you did not discover the harm until later, you must file your claim two to three years from the discovery date.
Mass torts tend to take a little longer than other kinds of cases due to the sheer number of claimants involved. Because each state has its own statutes, speak to a mass tort attorney as soon as possible to get started on your claim before it’s too late.
Mass Tort Litigation
In case you are new to mass torts, the “mass” just means there are a lot of them, and “tort” refers to the fact that they are civil claims. Mass tort claims can be brought when many plaintiffs are harmed by a similar wrong. This kind of claim allows plaintiffs to work together to pursue compensation when they have similar injuries and damages.
Mass tort claims often involve the negligence of a manufacturer, corporation, or government entity. Working together allows plaintiffs and their attorneys to pool their resources to better match the legal power possessed by the powerful companies they are suing.
In a mass tort, each plaintiff or claimant, though they are part of a group, is still looked at as an individual. That means that for each claimant, certain evidence must be presented, including anything unique to that claimant. This includes the specific damages that person has suffered due to the defendant’s negligence.
Common Types of Mass Torts
Mass tort lawsuits often involve harmful pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices. In these cases, the individual cases of multiple injured plaintiffs are often consolidated into a single court or presented before the same judge. Investigations into the defective product are conducted only once on behalf of the group, as opposed to multiple times by each plaintiff.
Common mass torts are lawsuits due to the following:
- Defective medical products
- Harmful drugs
- Contaminated foods
- Contaminated water
- Exposure to toxins such as lead paint
Mass torts enable plaintiffs to pursue compensation efficiently and without overburdening courts across the country with slightly different versions of the case.
Mass Torts vs. Class Actions
The biggest difference between mass torts and class actions is how plaintiffs are treated. Although plaintiffs in a mass tort are part of a group, each member is treated individually instead of as part of a “class.” This means that each plaintiff must prove how the defendant harmed them.
Class action suits are litigated somewhat differently. In a class action, the group of plaintiffs is represented by a person known as a class representative. The representative acts as a stand-in for the class, which is treated collectively as one plaintiff.
A mass tort is established when the differences in the plaintiffs’ situations outweigh the commonalities required for a class action. Often, mass tort claims are filed when defective drugs or products harm consumers on a large scale but in different ways.
Because reactions to products and substances vary from person to person, these cases don’t fit into a single category.
Contact a Mass Tort Lawyer
Injuries caused by the actions of a corporation can be devastating, and others may be experiencing similar hardships. Working with an experienced attorney for mass torts is one of the best ways to ensure that you follow all the steps needed to recover compensation for all you’ve endured.
You shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of a company’s failure to keep you safe. However, mass torts are often fraught with roadblocks. That’s where a mass tort lawyer comes in.
A qualified attorney can guide you through the legal proceedings and do the heavy lifting while you focus on recovery. Reach out to Fasig | Brooks today to schedule a free consultation.