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Mass Tort Or Class Action Lawsuit – What’s The Difference?
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Many injury claims are similar in nature and arise from similar circumstances that are created by a common negligent actor or group. These types of negligent defendants can vary widely and range from product manufacturers to government agencies and even to hospitals or nursing homes in some instances. Many class action lawsuits and mass torts have been filed historically, some of the most prominent in the news headlines recently being the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination cases and the Chemical Hair Straightener injury claims. Other types of cases have also included breached personal data and information exposure by certain tech companies that have impacted thousands if not millions of consumers. The typical victim often does not understand how they can be impacted and just exactly what their personal legal rights are, and it often stems from not understanding the difference between a “class action” or a “mass tort” lawsuit and not understanding which class action law firms to contact.
Class Action Cases
Class action cases are different from mass torts in several ways, one of which is how damages are determined and paid to plaintiffs. Class action cases are not evaluated on a separate basis, but instead, the merits of the case are presented in court with an order or settlement being reached that pays each plaintiff a set amount of financial compensation with an agreement to suspend any future liability. General liability cases fall into this category, and many plaintiffs actually suffer no true injury but could have legal issues in the future due to the problematic issue. All that is necessary to receive compensation is a general verified connection to the breach or negligent behavior of the respondent.
Examples of possible class action lawsuits include:
- Opioid Prescription Abuse
- Apple Watch Screen Defects
- Disability Insurance Scams
- Data Privacy Exposure
- Health Information Security Breaches
Mass Tort Cases
Mass tort cases can be much different from class actions, here cases are evaluated for compensation based on individual damages. These cases include verifiable medical issues as a result of prior proven negligence, and usually law firms are not required to prove negligence after it is established in a precedent case. Many class action law firms also represent clients in mass tort cases. Mass torts often begin with one or two isolated injury cases and then extend to others when it is apparent that there are many victims who have not realized they have a case, and then come forward for financial compensation. Mass tort case adjudication also usually takes much longer than a class action due to this primary focus on each case. Additionally, each victim is paid in accordance with their personal injury severity and the level of negligence on the part of the respondent party toward the particular claimant.
Examples of possible mass tort claims include:
- Asbestos Exposure
- Coal Dust Exposure
- Defective Commercial Product Injury
- Defective Drug and Medical Devices
- Large Scale Catastrophies
The Attorney Chosen to Handle the Case Matters
Regardless of the particular type of claim, the attorney that is chosen to represent the case can make a major difference in the final outcome. This is especially true in mass tort claims. Some class action law firms are focused on processing claims quickly and moving on to other cases, especially when claimants are all being paid the same compensation. Where having the right attorney representing the case is most important is when the individual claim is classified as a mass tort and each claimant is compensated based on the material factors in their claim. Mass tort claims are often funded by a defendant who sets aside a specific sum of financial resources designated for payment to multiple injured victims who can claim qualified mass tort eligibility. Otherwise, cases are filed directly against the negligent actor with standard rules of contributory negligence being a central factor.
Call our law office today and let us conduct a comprehensive investigation into your injury claim and evaluate the potential for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. We understand the difference between the two, and we are ready and focused on pursuing whole damages for our clients from all financial resource avenues.
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