If you have been injured by product such as a medical device, you may have run into the phrase “mass tort” and be wondering exactly what it means. Many injury cases are handled in consolidated litigations called mass torts; and, this type of case can be very beneficial for plaintiffs. Mass torts have several key features that make them different from other types of cases.
Mass Torts Involve A Large Number of Plaintiffs
Mass torts have (you guessed it) mass, meaning they have many parties involved. There can be dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of plaintiffs. Plaintiffs involved often file lawsuits against a product or device manufacturer, and the facts surrounding their cases must be substantially similar to each other. Generally, plaintiffs also suffer similar injuries or damages.
In order for lawsuits to be combined into a mass tort, an experienced torts lawyer must appear and argue for consolidation before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). In determining whether or not the case will be allowed, the panel judges will consider the number of plaintiffs or injured parties involved, the locations of the plaintiffs in relation to each other, whether the injuries the plaintiffs suffered are similar, and if the plaintiffs’ claims all involve a single product or cause.
Mass Torts Are Extremely Beneficial
In the case of a car accident, a personal injury lawsuit will proceed through the standard legal processes, often ending in a settlement or verdict. But what if you have thousands of lawsuits seeking to recover damages for the same injury? If every case in a mass tort was handled individually like a single incident personal injury case, our court systems would quickly become clogged and very few people would ever see a resolution.
Large cases like this operate differently to provide efficiency to plaintiffs. The presiding judge over a tort docket selects multiple bellwether cases for trial to represent the issue at hand, which showcases how a jury will decide liability and applicable damages. These trials often encourage parties to enter settlement negotiations with all of the plaintiffs, not just the cases brought to trial. This allows resolution much more quickly than handling the cases on an individual basis.
Have More Questions About Mass Torts?
Some of the most common mass torts involve pharmaceutical products and defective medical devices. If a defective consumer product injured you, or if you have other questions about a potential case, contact Dax F. Garza, P.C. today for a free consultation.