What Is a Mass Tort?

Mass torts are complex litigation cases where multiple plaintiffs come together to file their claims in one lawsuit.

Mass torts differ from regular personal injury lawsuits because they typically involve a group of plaintiffs with similar claims that file together; however, they’re also different from class action cases because plaintiffs may still face different circumstances that differentiate their cases.

A main advantage of joining this type of claim is that it is much easier to succeed against large corporations or established manufacturers than it is on an individual level.

What’s the Difference Between Mass Tort and Class Action?

A mass tort is a civil lawsuit brought on behalf of a large group of people or their representatives (usually mass tort attorneys) against a single defendant (or a small group of defendants). As such, it is a public interest action that has the potential to be much more complex than a typical personal injury case and may impact all members of the group, rather than just some or one member.

On the other hand, class-action lawsuits are generally brought jointly by lawyers for a group of people who have suffered the same prejudice or harm through separate but related legal incidents. Class actions must meet very specific criteria, so sometimes a mass tort is formed when the members of a group don’t meet all the requirements of a class.

Class actions are less complex because they do not involve representative claims by individuals; instead, class actions proceed on behalf of everyone in the group that suffers from the same prejudice. The cases that form class actions are often relatively simple and are, therefore, less expensive to litigate.

Additionally, mass tort actions differ from class actions because each plaintiff is allowed to pursue compensation for their personal injuries instead of only receiving one verdict for the entire group.

Examples of Common Cases Where Mass Tort May Be Used

Mass tort cases often involve groups of people who have suffered injury as a result of defective products, harmful business practices, or dangerous drugs. Here are a few examples of situations that may warrant a mass tort:

  • Dangerous Products: Faulty and hazardous products are among the most common subjects of mass tort claims. These include common products such as contaminated food, dangerous toys for kids, malfunctioning car parts, faulty electronic or medical devices, and dangerous or defective drugs. Manufacturers have the full responsibility of ensuring that their products are safe and providing sufficient warnings and instructions. If they fail to do so, the injured consumers have the legal right to sue them.
  • Exposure to Toxic Substances: This involves illness or injury due to toxin or chemical exposure. Plaintiffs can suffer this exposure in several ways; for instance, someone might come into contact with a hazardous chemical at work, accidentally breathe in asbestos or toxic mold at home, or experience adverse effects from toxins in water supplies.

Find Out if a Mass Tort Lawsuit Is Right for You

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a faulty product, a toxic substance, or general negligence that has affected a large group of people, you might be eligible to participate in a mass tort lawsuit. Get in touch with Napoli Shkolnik’s professional mass tort attorneys today to learn more about your rights, or click here to schedule a free consultation.