Simply put, a tort is a civil wrongdoing in which one person inflicts injury or damage to another person. A corporation can be considered a legal “person” under tort law. In a tort claim, the person who caused the injury or damages is legally liable for their actions and the harm they inflicted upon the victim.
Mass tort claims are reserved for a single wrongdoing that causes injury to multiple people. These types of claims have numerous plaintiffs who are suing either a single defendant or multiple defendants who have acted recklessly. Mass tort claims usually happen because the injuries or damages to the plaintiff party was caused by a product they all have in common.
The most common mass tort claims are:
- Consumer Product Claims: Claims with numerous plaintiffs coming together to get compensation for injuries they suffered from defective or dangerous products.
- Pharmaceutical Claims: Claims against a company or prescriber for over-the-counter and prescription drugs that cause injury or result in death.
Before a group of plaintiffs can bring forth a lawsuit against a person or company, their attorney will have to get the court’s permission to file a mass tort action.
Courts will use the following criteria to make their decision about a potential mass tort claim:
- The number of plaintiffs trying to sue
- How far the plaintiffs live from each other
- How similar the injuries between the plaintiffs are
- If there is a common cause or correlation between the claims made by the plaintiffs
If a court decides that the proposed case meets the qualifications for a mass tort action, the case will be assigned to a judge. Judges have the authority to order a notice of the lawsuit to be published in newspapers, this way other people who have been injured by the same product can opt to join the mass tort action.
You might be wondering if there is a difference between a mass tort claim and a “class action” claim. The significant difference is that plaintiffs in mass tort claims have individual claims for particular damages. All of the plaintiffs in a mass tort case will get their own trial, whereas class action lawsuits aren’t decided individually. Instead, class action lawsuits are heard in one trial. An advantage of mass tort litigation is that the investigation and preparation is transferable between the plaintiffs. This increases the efficiency of each case.
If you need help with your tort or mass tort claim, you should consult with our personal injury attorneys today. We can assess your damages and injuries to determine what forms of compensation you are entitled to. Our team is available 24/7 to help with all of your legal needs.
Contact our Hartford tort law attorneys to schedule an appointment.