If the terms “mass tort” and “class action lawsuit” sound interchangeable to you, you’re not alone. While both case types involve multiple plaintiffs, the litigation process is quite different. At the Law Offices of Tim Misny, we review each case individually and decide which type of lawsuit would be most advantageous to the client.
Mass torts are more similar to traditional personal injury suits than class action lawsuits. Usually, mass torts start off as multiple cases brought by individual plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are often from the same geographical location, and have all suffered physical or financial injuries as a result of a single event or series of events. They may involve a single or multiple defendants.
If the plaintiffs’ cases meet the criteria, a judge can join their cases into a single mass tort. This helps streamline the court’s schedule. Each plaintiff retains their rights as an individual plaintiff, but their lawyers are required to work within the multiple plaintiff system.
Mass tort suits are sometimes used when the class action criteria is not met. Finally, unlike class actions, each plaintiff has the right and opportunity to refuse the settlement.
Class action lawsuits involve a “class” of plaintiffs, who are represented by class representatives. These are used when individual lawsuits are impractical (for example, there are hundreds or thousands of people affected). These suits are often used in large-scale litigation, such as pharmaceutical lawsuits.
The legal issues must be the same among the class, such as harm from a defective product. The claims and defenses of the class representative must be shared by the class, and the representatives must be able to adequately protect the class’s interests.
If the lawsuit meets these requirements, a judge will certify the class and the suit can move forward. However, the plaintiffs’ level of involvement is very low, compared to a mass tort action. Even if they’ve been notified of the class and opted in, the average class member does not have the ability or right to make decisions regarding the suit.
Which type of case is right for you?
When we review your case, we’ll sit down and explain your legal options. If your case involves an incident or product that harmed multiple people, it may become a mass tort or class action suit. Whatever type of lawsuit we file, it will be designed to get you the best compensation possible.
Discuss your personal injury claim with an Ohio lawyer
When you’re injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you deserve compensation for your injuries, lost wages and more. I’ll Make Them Pay!® The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help, whether you have an individual case, mass tort or potential class action suit. Call me today at (877) 944-4373 for a consultation, and we’ll work to get what you deserve.