If you have been injured by a medication or medical device, such as a pain pump or heart defibrillator, you may be confused regarding your legal rights. As an injured victim, you do have the right to file a lawsuit against a manufacturer or other responsible party, the question then becomes – what type of lawsuit do you file?
A mass tort is a legal term used to describe negligence cases that result in death, injury, damage or loss. Mass tort claims usually arise when a manufacturer or corporation’s negligence affects a large group of people. However, mass tort lawsuits are often confused with class action lawsuits, which are very different. Below is a summary of these two types of lawsuits that will give you a better understanding of the differences.
Mass Tort Lawsuits
A mass tort exists when numerous victims are affected. Usually, a mass tort involves a large number of claims that arise within a short time period. These cases are generally very similar to each other. The mass tort lawsuit against the responsible party will combine many legal cases into one trial. Each plaintiff is still treated as an individual with their own lawsuit.
Mass tort lawsuits are more cost effective when there are multiple cases that share a high degree of commonality. It saves time and money because the cases are argued together, which allows for more resources to go toward building the strongest case possible. For example, a mass tort lawsuit could include several plaintiffs who are injured by a defective prescription drug. Even though there are different cases, they all share the commonality of being injured by the defective drug and can pursue compensation against the drug manufacturer.
Class Action Lawsuits
A class action lawsuit is different than a mass tort lawsuit in that it is filed by one party on behalf of a group of people who have suffered a common injury, known as a class. The class must be certified by filing a motion in court. Unlike mass tort lawsuits, class action lawsuits do not involve multiple, individual cases. These lawsuits typically result from a company’s actions or a defective product.
If you have been injured from a prescription drug, pain pump or other medical device, contact the Florida mass tort attorneys at Lilly, O’Toole & Brown, LLP at (863) 683-1111. We will review the facts of your case to help you choose the best course of action.