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What Do Mass Tort Attorneys Do?

What Do Mass Tort Attorneys Do?

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What Do Mass Tort Attorneys Do?

A mass tort attorney is skilled in presenting litigation related to cases where multiple clients have been injured as the result of another party’s negligence. Oftentimes, mass tort cases are filed against large companies such as airlines, railroads, pharmaceutical companies, or manufacturers. 

Those who have been exposed to the negligence of the injuring party may suffer a wide range of damages differing in severity. Injuries may be physical, financial, or emotional in nature. When a mass tort lawsuit is filed, the injured seek financial compensation for their losses. 

So, what do mass tort attorneys do? They seek financial compensation for their clients, all of whom experienced similar injuries at the hands of a negligent party.

What Is a Mass Tort?

A mass tort is a legal action in response to a wrongful act that causes harm to a number of people. A mass tort is comparable to a class action because it involves multiple individuals whom a negligent party has harmed. However, there are differences in how the plaintiffs are awarded compensation for their losses.

Examples, where a mass tort lawsuit may be filed, include:

  • Production of a pharmaceutical that has harmful side effects that cause injury or illness to a large group of people
  • Creation of a medical device that malfunctions, resulting in injured individuals
  • Development of a defective product that causes physical injuries or economic harm to many people
  • A commercial airliner crash that kills or injures many people because of the airline’s negligence

If you’ve been injured by a defective product, pharmaceutical, or other devices, fill out the contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website for a free case evaluation.

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FAQ

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  • What Is Multidistrict Litigation?

    Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is litigation that occurs when a number of individuals from different districts seek compensation for similar injuries sustained by a defendant’s negligent conduct. 

    Lawsuits are joined before one federal judge for the purpose of discovery and important legal rulings. The judge selects a group of attorneys to pursue the case on behalf of all individuals injured. 

    An MDL may take many years to resolve, and law firms appointed by the judge often spend lots of money and time trying to resolve the case. 

    Many times, a mass tort settlement may be awarded to all individuals who were injured or damaged by the company, especially if there have been trials to help both sides determine the reasonable value of the cases. 

    Settlements are structured so that each individual’s case is reviewed based on the extent of their injuries and harm done. Once settlement terms are established, each individual may decide whether they want to accept. 

    If an injured party decides not to accept the terms of the settlement, they may pursue an individual case using the facts and evidence established during the multidistrict litigation.

    What do mass tort attorneys do? Mass tort attorneys may file a lawsuit as part of multidistrict litigation, and serve many people based in different regions.

  • What Is the Difference Between Mass Tort and Class Action Lawsuits?

    The difference between mass tort and class action lawsuits lies in how the plaintiffs are treated. Mass tort lawsuits usually result in financial settlements decided in accordance with each person’s injuries. In contrast, a class action lawsuit results in the same amount of damages for each person determined to be a victim.

    Class action lawsuits are filed by a few named individuals on behalf of a large group, or class, of people. The large group may not realize that they are part of a class action lawsuit, and do not have lawyers specifically representing them in the litigation. 

    The results of a class action lawsuit bind all individuals who were involved in the lawsuit, even if they are not aware that they’re part of it. If the class action is filed and approved, individuals who are part of the lawsuit may end up receiving very little or no money. 

  • What Do Mass Tort Attorneys Do During the Initial Legal Process?

    During the initial legal process of mass tort litigation, an attorney will review all of the details related to your injury. Documentation will include medical treatment, medical bills, and other expenses incurred as a result of the negligent act and subsequent injury. 

    Once your documentation is assessed, the attorney will review related evidence and injuries sustained by others as a result of the same act of negligence. After comparing the similarities of the injuries, the lawyer will proceed with filing the lawsuit on your behalf. 

  • How Do Attorneys Determine What Cases Qualify as Mass Torts?

    In order to file a mass tort, lawyers must identify injury consistencies among plaintiffs. For example, if various individuals suffered from harm due to a defective pharmaceutical, their injuries must be similar in nature. They may have incurred damage to their liver or other internal organs. 

    When the mass tort lawyer prepares the litigation, they must represent multiple plaintiffs in one case against the defendant. The plaintiffs’ injuries must be alike and fit a general profile. Mass tort attorneys may also categorize their cases so that the demographics and injuries sustained fit specific profiles.

    For example, mass tort cases may be organized by individuals’ ages, types of injuries sustained, or demographics. Once the case is settled, compensating payments are dispersed according to the classification of the injured parties.

  • What Is a Bellwether Trial?

    What do mass tort attorneys do during a bellwether trial? During this type of trial, a smaller group of individuals act as test cases to indicate how future litigation may turn out. Attorneys often use bellwether trials in mass tort cases where a large number of people have been affected by a number of defective products. 

    These trials are often used as model jury trials to determine how juries relate to evidence and arguments. The plaintiff is able to present the evidence and see how it is received by the jury. The outcome of the trial serves as a roadmap for what can be expected from future cases.

  • What Are the Most Common Types of Mass Tort Lawsuits?

    While mass tort lawsuits may be filed for any type of negligent act that results in an injury to an individual, there are several types of mass tort lawsuits that are more common than others. 
    What do mass tort attorneys do during a mass tort lawsuit? They identify the cause of the injury and directly relate it to the negligence inflicted by the responsible individual or company. Some of the most common types of mass tort lawsuits are identified below.

    Defective Product Mass Tort

    A defective product mass tort results when a company produces and supplies a product to consumers, and people who purchase the product are injured in some manner. In this case, a consumer who has been injured may notify a mass tort attorney for an evaluation of their case. 
    If causation can be shown between the injury and the defective product, other consumers may bring action as well. This results in a defective product mass tort lawsuit.

    Dangerous Drugs Mass Tort

    If a pharmaceutical company produces a drug that causes harmful side effects to multiple people, a dangerous drugs mass tort lawsuit may be filed on behalf of injured plaintiffs. 
    In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is tasked with ensuring that products are safe before they’re marketed to the general public. If a product passes its oversight, but causes multiple injuries once it is consumed or used, the manufacturer may be the subject of a lawsuit.

    Defective Medical Device Mass Tort

    A medical device that fails or doesn’t perform its intended function may result in an injury to an individual. If multiple people sustain the same or similar injuries as a result of the device’s malfunction, a defective medical device mass tort lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer.

  • What Constitutes Negligence in a Mass Tort Lawsuit?

    Negligence is generally defined in the U.S. legal system according to a set of five standards. Proving negligence requires that each of these standards has been met, and that the negligence resulted in some type of injury, whether physical, financial, or emotional in nature. 

    In its most general form, the law requires that each individual must behave in a manner that includes acceptable standards of safe conduct. In addition to individuals, negligence law applies to companies and entities. 

    Each element of negligence is explained in detail below.

    Duty

    The first element of negligence involves establishing a duty of care. To determine that a duty existed, the court must decide if a defendant was required to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances involved. 

    Breach of Duty

    A breach of duty occurs when there is a failure to exercise reasonable care. Thus, the defendant owed the plaintiff a right to reasonable care and failed to provide it.

    Cause in Fact (Causation)

    Cause in fact, or causation, occurs when the injuries sustained by the victim directly resulted from a breach of duty on behalf of the defendant. The court reviews the injuries and determines if they were directly related to the actions (or non-actions) of the defendant.

    Proximate Cause

    The fourth element of negligence involves proving that the defendant directly caused the injury through their actions. Thus, the nearest source of the injury was not through outside forces, but directly occurred as a result of the fault of the defendant’s breach of duty.

    Damages

    The final element requires proof that harm occurred because of negligent action. The harm may be physical, financial, or emotional. If the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, but the victims did not suffer any provable harm, legal negligence is not established. Actual damages must have been sustained for a negligence claim to have merit. 

  • When to Consult a Mass Tort Attorney

    If you have suffered an injury related to a specific product, pharmaceutical, or medical device, you may need the assistance of a mass tort attorney. 

    The skilled attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have extensive knowledge of tort law, and can help you to recover damages if you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. 

    Fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation today.

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