If you’ve ever seen a large accident or heard of a product that caused injury to a large number of people, then you’ve likely witnessed the beginnings of a potential mass tort lawsuit.
Mass tort claims are legal actions in which many individuals who have suffered injuries from the same event or product file many lawsuits against one or more defendants responsible for causing the injuries. These types of claims typically arise from disasters, defective products, or other incidents that result in widespread harm to a large number of people.
Special Management for Mass Tort Claims
In a mass tort claim, each person is still considered a separate plaintiff, but their claims are aggregated into a single proceeding for simplicity’s sake. Special judicial management is often required in order to coordinate the litigation of hundreds, or even thousands, of claims possible. This special management also allows for greater efficiency and consistency in handling mass tort litigation. Managing the case this way creates the potential for greater leverage in settlement negotiations or at trial.
Because factors related to the management of complex mass tort litigation vary from case to case, it is very difficult to generate typical rules to handle mass tort cases. Thus, it is very important to hire an experienced mass torts attorney.
When claims in a mass tort case are aggregated, it is important to note that each individual plaintiff maintains their unique claim against the defendant. What primarily changes once a mass tort claim has been aggregated is that the individual claim proceeds alongside the others plaintiffs’ claims in the same court.
Mass Tort Claim Process
As the case proceeds, the plaintiffs and defendants will exchange information and evidence related to the case, called discovery. This often includes medical records, expert reports, and other documents that support the plaintiffs’ claims of injury or harm. This process is again aided by the special procedural protections and systems involved with mass tort litigation.
Once discovery is complete, the case may proceed to trial, although the vast majority of mass tort claims are settled before reaching this final stage of litigation. In many mass tort cases, the defendants will agree to a settlement that provides compensation to the plaintiffs in exchange for the dismissal of the case. Settlements may be structured in a variety of ways, including lump-sum payments or structured payouts.
In some cases, mass tort claims may also be resolved through the use of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as the utilization of a “special master” or other methods. The process of claim resolution is often just as complex as the process of aggregating and coordinating the claims in the first place.
Let Our Firm Help You with Your Mass Tort Claim
The talented mass tort team at Charles E. Boyk Law Offices is dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcome for clients who are harmed by the negligence of large corporations and defective products and helping our clients understand the complexities of mass tort litigation. Call us today to ensure that your rights as the victim of a mass tort are protected, and you get the compensation and justice you deserve.