What Is The Difference Between Mass Torts And Class Action Lawsuits

What Is The Difference Between Mass Torts And Class Action Lawsuits?

A mass tort is a civil action taken after a wrongful act on behalf of one or more corporations that have caused harm to another. There are several factors that come into play when a mass tort arises, which include but are not limited to:

Faulty Products/Device Injuries/Prescription Injuries:

  • Automobiles 
  • Over-the-counter drugs 
  • Prescription drugs 
  • Medical devices 

Disasters/Toxic Contamination:

  • Oil spills 
  • Airplane accidents 
  • Coal mining incidents 
  • Water pollution 

Examples Of Mass Torts

As an example, let’s consider a defective drug being sold in the marketplace. Those who consumed this product may sue the pharmaceutical company for medical bills for their treatment along with any other losses (including physical pain or lost wages) caused by their injuries. Over 1,000 cases are filed every year across the nation for pharmaceutical mass torts. 

Another well-known example is asbestos. Companies producing products containing asbestos were all well aware of the harm that occurs when an individual inhales this mineral. However, these companies failed to mention the negative health effects one could be exposed to when inhaling asbestos. These companies are so aware of the hazards that they set aside more than $30 billion in compensation for asbestos victims.

Another example is lead poisoning, which can easily result in decreasing IQs, learning disabilities, and behavioral disorders. Those most vulnerable to lead poisoning are mainly infants and young children. This issue mainly stemmed from lead paint that was used in older houses and apartments. Paint chips and toxic dust were all factors in causing lead poisoning. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed across the country due to lead poisoning caused by lead paint. 

The last example is cigarettes. Cigarette smokers and survivors have been filing lawsuits against the tobacco industry for decades. Several lawsuits also claim that cigarette companies are guilty of illegally advertising their products to children. There are over thousands of pending lawsuits pending over the tobacco industry alleging that they mislead customers about the safety of cigarettes.

Class Action Lawsuit Or Mass Tort?

Many people confuse mass torts with class action lawsuits. Mass torts and class action lawsuits are similar because in both instances a large group of individuals are encountering similar issues that caused them the same harm. 

However, those who were harmed as a result of a mass tort are obligated to file their own lawsuit. Mass torts do not enjoy the same automatic protection as individuals who are part of a class action suit. Further, once litigation is resolved, those harmed as a result of the mass tort are not expected to attain compensation unless they file individual lawsuits. 

There are a few reasons why mass tort victims do not pursue class action lawsuits. To begin with, class action lawsuits offer legal recourse to a large portion of people whose losses are not sufficient enough to warrant individual litigation. However, mass tort victims have potentially sustained severe harm, which may result in thousands of dollars for medical bills, physical or emotional suffering, and lost wages. 

Also, victims of mass torts normally suffer various degrees of harm and lawsuit would seek compensation based on the level of harm suffered. In a class action, individuals affected will typically have suffered similar levels of harm which would ultimately offer them the same amount of compensation if the lawsuit is successful.

What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?

If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The class action lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling class action lawsuits. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.

We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a class action attorney in California, contact our office at 1-800-247-9235.

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