Mass torts are often referred to as class action laws. There are a few differences between mass torts and class action laws, however. In mass torts, each member of the group suing has an independent claim and an individual trial that is separate from the rest of the group. For class action suits, the plaintiffs are all treated as one group with one trial.
The compensation the plaintiffs receive for their frustration is also often higher in mass tort cases. Mass torts also usually take less time, because the various people can build their cases off each other to have a stronger, quicker case.
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Reasons for Mass Torts
Mass torts can take place because of many different things. It could be a defective product. This product could have caused harm to the users or danger in some way. Contaminated food, for example, would fall under this category.
Pharmaceutical companies usually affect a large group of people if they make an unintentional or intentional misstep. If a medication has harmful side effects that were unreported or any other consequence that is damaging to a person’s health, they can be held accountable by the people that were harmed by their drug.
Another common reason for people to file for a mass tort is an environmental problem. If a business or group is wrongfully abusing the environment in some way, a group of people may come together to build a case against them.
Mass torts also include employment discrimination, insurance disputes, and any other legal issues that influence a large group of people.
Proceeding with a Mass Tort
Often, the various plaintiffs are spread out geographically. They may not even know each other. If it is a product that is defective, especially, it is common that the plaintiffs have never met. Even if they do not know each other, however, they can still file a joint suit if they have the same cause.
Before a group of people can file a lawsuit, they must have their attorneys ask the court’s permission. There are a handful of factors that the court will consider before granting or denying the request: whether many people are involved, where they all are, if the injuries they all sustained are similar, and if the complaints that the plaintiffs are making are all because of the same issue.
If the case is moved on to the next step, the judge who is assigned has the option of publishing the case in the newspaper or to the public so other victims can come forward. This allows the plaintiffs the opportunity to have a stronger case with more affected people who can voice their damages.