When a big corporation or manufacturer releases a dangerous product to the public, thousands of people may get injured. While each victim has the right to file an individual claim against the company, the more common approach is for plaintiffs to join forces.
Most people have heard of Class Action lawsuits but are less familiar with the term Mass Tort. Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably, but they’re really quite different. Although both lawsuits involve a large group of plaintiffs, the big difference is how these groups are treated in the court of law.
Mass Tort Lawsuits
With mass torts each plaintiff, even though they are part of a large group, is treated as an individual. That means that for each plaintiff certain facts need to be established, including anything individual or specific to that particular plaintiff. This also includes the particular damages that person has suffered as a result of the negligent actions of the defendant. Mass tort litigation typically involves defective medical devices and pharmaceuticals
Mass tort claims may be brought when multiple plaintiffs are harmed by a similar wrong. Typically, the individual cases of many plaintiffs are consolidated in one court or before one judge. Investigations related to the defective product are conducted just once by the group, rather than many times by each separate plaintiff.
Some common types of mass torts involve:
- Defective Drugs
- Defective Medical Devices
- Mesothelioma and asbestos exposure
- Contaminated food or drink products
- Exposure to lead paint or toxins
Mass torts make it possible for plaintiffs to get justice efficiently and without tying up hundreds of courts across the country by hearing variations of the same case.
Class Action Lawsuits
On the flip side is a class action lawsuit where the large group of plaintiffs, known collectively as the class, are represented by a person who stands in for the rest of the class, called the “class representative.” This means all members of the class are treated as just one plaintiff, and not separately. Class action litigation typically involves consumer fraud or defective products and a single lawsuit is filed with multiple plaintiffs – sometimes hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs against the company.
In order for a class action to be formed, the plaintiffs must have all been harmed in similar ways by the same defective product. There are threshold requirements that need to be met in order for the federal courts to certify a class action. They are:
- the class is so numerous that joinder of class members is impracticable (numerosity)
- there are questions of law or fact common to the class (commonality)
- the claims or defenses of the class representatives are typical of those of the class (typicality); and
- the class representatives will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class (adequacy).
Class actions make it possible to sue when it would not be cost-effective or practical for each plaintiff to file a separate case.
At the law offices of Wolf & Pravato, our attorneys play a pivotal role in shaping the outcome of class action and mass tort lawsuits across the country. Over the last two decades, Wolf & Pravato has fought for numerous clients in the South Florida courtrooms, earning the reputation as one of South Florida’s top law firms capable of winning intricate and challenging, mass tort and class action litigation with a creative, innovative approach.
The following are among our class action lawsuits and mass tort department’s top investigations:
- Abbott Freestyle Test Strip
- Oil Spill Litigation / BP
- Chinese Drywall
- Granuflo Dialysis
- Mesothelioma Cancer & Asbestos
- Stryker Hip
Before joining a class action or before your case is consolidated as part of a mass tort, it is important to understand your rights. The experienced South Florida personal injury lawyers at the law offices of Wolf & Pravato offer free consultations to help you determine the best way to take legal action. Our attorneys can evaluate your case and provide answers to questions including:
What are the mass torts?
A mass tort is a solitary unjust activity that makes injury a wide range of individuals. These harmed individuals can meet up in a solitary mass tort claim, looking for equity for their different wounds against only one litigant (or perhaps a couple).
What are class actions?
A legal claim is a legitimate activity documented against a respondent by a gathering of people. It is intended for circumstances in which numerous people have endured comparative wounds because of the litigant’s activities.
How do mass torts and class actions differ?
The principle distinction between mass torts and class activities is the manner by which the enormous gathering of offended parties is dealt with.
Mass torts frequently include a gathering of unmistakable people in some cases from the equivalent geographic zone. Along these lines, mass tort cases ordinarily comprise a littler gathering of harmed offended parties than a class activity suit.
Despite the fact that offended parties in a mass tort are a piece of a huge gathering, every part is as yet rewarded as a person. This implies every offended party must demonstrate certain realities, including how every individual was harmed by the litigant.
Class activity suits are dealt with somewhat better. In this kind of case, the huge gathering of offended parties is viewed as a class and is spoken to by an individual called a class agent. The class agent subs for the remainder of the class and all individuals are treated as one offended party.