How Do Mass Tort Settlements Work?
If you’ve been the victim of product liability or criminal negligence, you want to recover your losses. You may have grounds to sue the at-fault party, and you can seek compensation in several ways, including mass tort personal injury cases — if you know how they work. Our team at De Castroverde would like to teach you more about mass tort settlements and tell you how you can claim monetary damages.
What is a Mass Tort?
A mass tort lawsuit involves multiple people (the plaintiffs) who’ve suffered similar injuries due to the negligent actions of a common defendant. The responsible party is often a corporation, such as a consumer products manufacturer or pharmaceutical company, that has produced a faulty item or dangerous drug, for example. However, the common factor is that severe injuries or significant monetary loss must justify the litigation requirement.
This type of matter provides injured individuals with several benefits, although each victim must file a lawsuit, which sets this action apart from others. The court ultimately consolidates multi-district cases into one mass tort litigation at its discretion. This means that each plaintiff and their attorney will make their case and receive a settlement based on their specific damages.
Common Mass Tort Claims
Most mass tort complaints involve corporate negligence. That means the most common injuries center around these scenarios and can give rise to lawsuits. Some of these situations include the following:
- Defective product accidents: A manufacturing flaw or design defect caused a hazardous product that harmed you.
- Failure to warn: The company knew there was an issue and failed to warn consumers.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals: You’re exposed to toxic substances at home or work, such as gas leaks or chemical spills.
- Defective medication or medical device: You develop an illness or injury because of an issue with a drug or a medical device, such as a pacemaker.
- Man-made catastrophe: You’re injured or lose property during a fire, explosion, or flood caused by someone else’s negligence.
Mass Torts vs. Class Actions
A class action operates differently than a mass tort. With the former, one lead plaintiff must file the lawsuit and act on behalf of other plaintiffs. This class representative must prove that their loss is the same as the other members and that the defendant caused the damages. Another difference is how compensation is awarded. The attorney and the lead plaintiff are paid first, with the balance of the proceeds distributed among the rest of the class. Unfortunately, this practice often results in insufficient rewards for the remaining plaintiffs.
However, with a mass tort, no one plaintiff fully represents the interests of all parties. The case involves individuals from the same area. This precedent vastly differs from a class action suit, which can include plaintiffs from all over the country — and even globally. This geographic advantage helps streamline the legal process and conserve resources. Every member’s attorney collects relevant evidence and openly shares this information with other legal teams.
For example, if you call an expert witness to speak on a crucial part of your case. This person only has to provide their testimony once, as opposed to in each case so all plaintiffs benefit from this shared evidence. The settlement is also based on each party’s specific damages, so you’ll more likely recover fair compensation for your suffering.
What Are the Benefits of Joining a Mass Tort Settlement?
Lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you’ve suffered a serious injury that resulted in thousands of dollars in damages. That’s why investigating a mass tort settlement is a good decision. There are several advantages that litigants have over those that bring a class action or personal injury case to court, including the following:
- There are a smaller number of plaintiffs to work with.
- Your attorney can share discovery information with other plaintiffs’ law firms.
- Compensation awards are commensurate with your specific damages.
- You’ll have more power over settlement negotiations.
- The cost of legal fees may be less than taking individual action to trial.
Finding Plaintiffs for a Mass Tort Claim
The critical factor to a mass tort complaint — other than the extent of your damages — is finding plaintiffs. You need to find other people in your area who’ve suffered the same or similar harm. This step requires some research on your part, especially if you’re trying to make a case without legal counsel. See if you can join an existing lawsuit; if you can’t, your investigation may uncover other people in the same situation.
Speaking with our firm, De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, is the best way to determine if your case meets the qualification of a mass tort lawsuit. We have the necessary training and education to review and evaluate the merits of your claim while finding other eligible plaintiffs to join your fight. But before you can collect your settlement, you’ll also need legal help to conduct the following:
- Find expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
- Conduct legal research that applies to your case.
- Negotiate with corporate attorneys to bring about a favorable settlement.
Determining Compensation in a Mass Tort
Mass tort cases often take years to settle, and the rewards vary from plaintiff to plaintiff. This is a significant advantage for people who’ve suffered different injuries, albeit still due to the negligence of a common defendant.
Attorneys in each case can pursue and recover a settlement commensurate with their client’s actual loss. Unfortunately, this means that compensation isn’t always equal among all plaintiffs in a mass tort. For example, If you were exposed to asbestos at work, you may have suffered from shortness of breath that prevents you from engaging in your favorite sport, like running, or you were diagnosed with lung cancer, and your prognosis is poor. In that case, you may be awarded $10,000 in damages, while another plaintiff had losses of $2,000,000.
To qualify for a mass tort settlement, you must understand what this legal action entails. These claims are highly complex, and an experienced lawyer will strengthen your case while guiding you through each step of your claim. Once you realize you have grounds for a mass tort lawsuit, contact us for more information. We’re here to help you strategize your road to recovery.
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