Jan 1, 2024

Understanding the Different Types of Mass Torts

Understanding the Different Types of Mass Torts

Products won’t always work as they’re intended to, and in some cases, they’ll cause harm to the unsuspecting consumers that use them. If the product was distributed nationwide, thousands of people could potentially be harmed by the defect before the manufacturer can pull it from store shelves. The victims of these dangerous products can file lawsuits against the negligent manufacturer, but with so many affected individuals, is there a better option?

You may have heard of class-action lawsuits that unify the victims of unjust organizations to fight for justice, but these lawsuits have specific regulations that may exclude some individuals from joining. Another type of litigation, mass tort, works in a similar fashion but allows more victims to join and fight to hold the at-fault organization accountable. Many people aren’t aware that mass tort litigation exists, so here’s everything you need to know about mass tort lawsuits.

What Is a Mass Tort?

Mass tort litigation is an extension of a “tort,” which is a civil wrong that causes damage or loss to another individual. The injured party in a tort case files a lawsuit against the tortfeasor, or at-fault party, and seeks compensation based on the damage resulting from the responsible organization’s actions. A mass tort lawsuit is simply a more extensive tort lawsuit, where multiple plaintiffs file a single claim against a negligent company, manufacturer, policy, or product. 

How Are Mass Torts Different From Class Action Lawsuits?

Mass torts and class action lawsuits both unify a collective body of victims to hold a negligent organization accountable for its unjust actions, but there are some key differences that set them apart. In class-action lawsuits, the group of plaintiffs must all be seeking compensation for very similar damages, meaning that some individuals are excluded if they were damaged differently than the majority of other victims. Restitution is distributed evenly amongst all plaintiffs in class action lawsuits, with every victim receiving the same amount regardless of their circumstances.

On the other hand, mass tort lawsuits treat every victim as an individual and allow them to seek compensation based on their individual damages. For example, if one person experiences vision loss as a result of using a defective drug, they’ll receive more compensation than another individual who only experienced headaches. Mass tort cases also have fewer restrictions than class action lawsuits, meaning more individuals can get involved and advocate for the hardship they endured.

What Are Some Examples of Mass Tort Cases?

There are a few types of mass tort lawsuits that can be filed. Here are some of the most common:

  • Mass Disaster Torts: Natural disasters, man-made accidents, and other large-scale catastrophes cause widespread harm to the people and property in the area. The victims are often left to pick up the pieces by themselves, but a mass disaster tort will allow the injured parties to seek compensation based on their specific damages. Mass disaster torts were filed after the BP oil spill, Columbia gas explosions, and train derailments that resulted in multiple injuries.
  • Mass Toxic Torts: Mass toxic tort lawsuits aim to compensate a group of individuals who were exposed to a harmful chemical or substance. The exposure can result from their occupation, the environment, or pharmaceutical drugs, but all injured parties must prove that the substance directly harmed them to receive compensation. Lead-based paint, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and asbestos are commonly at the forefront of mass toxic tort cases.
  • Product Liability Torts: If consumers are harmed by using a product for its intended purpose, a product liability tort can help them unite and seek compensation for their injuries. The plaintiffs in the case will need to prove that the product’s design caused the damage in their scenario, as any user negligence will restrict that individual from joining the lawsuit. Product liability torts often result from widespread recalls, but anyone injured by a defective product can seek to file one against the manufacturer.

It can be difficult to know if your situation is the subject of a mass tort lawsuit, but we’ve made it easy for you to stay involved. Visit here to learn more about the current mass tort cases in the industry.

Contact Morgan & Morgan

No one should have to bear the expense of someone else’s negligence. If you or a family member were harmed by a defective product, harmful substance, or disaster event, Morgan & Morgan is here to help. There are likely others in the same position as you, and through a mass tort lawsuit, everyone can fight for the compensation they deserve and hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions. 

Complete a free, no-risk case evaluation to see if you qualify for a mass tort lawsuit.