Mass Tort & Everything You Need To Know About It |

Legal|Mass Tort

Mass Tort & Everything You Need To Know About It

What is Mass Tort? There are times when organizations, businesses, or companies breach the duty of care they have to the public. These situations requiring legal remedy can be either intentional or unintentional. These breaches can cause injury and even wrongful death. Often these situations need to be litigated in order to receive a remedy and to prevent similar breaches and harm in the future.

Mass Tort law is an incredibly important aspect of practicing law, and it helps keep businesses in check and ensures that personal injury results in fair compensation via either litigation or settlement. This is why it is important to know the difference between a mass tort action, and a class-action lawsuit, even when you are working with an experienced law firm and are acting as a plaintiff in the litigation. There are also different variations of mass tort cases that may complicate things.

How Do Mass Tort Lawsuits And Class Action Lawsuits Differ?

While the terms are frequently used interchangeably by those who are uninformed on the differences, there are stark contrasts between the two.

Class Action

Class action suits are generally quite similar to mass tort cases, with the difference being that the pool of plaintiffs who were injured in the same way is often much larger. This means there is only one lawsuit, rather than several, however, there is only one person who acts as the representative for the class.

For example. If there were an herbicide that caused frequent users to develop cancers that were largely similar, that could become the basis for a class-action lawsuit. This group, or class of people, can get together and leverage their numbers in a class action case that will be heard in civil court.

Mass Tort

A mass tort is where a party referred to as the “tortfeasor”, who is the party liable for the injuries of several people, faces litigation from the people combined into a group. In mass tort litigation, each person is treated as an individual with regard to their complaint. One notable difference is that while each person has been harmed by the tortfeasor, the injuries may differ to an extent. These lawsuits have only been common for approximately the last 40-50 years.

For instance, if a local company dumped dangerous waste chemicals into a local waterway, which is where the drinking water of a nearby town is sourced. Dumping it was simply less expensive than properly disposing of it. This action results in many people in the town getting sick with different diseases caused by exposure or consumption.

Elements Of A Mass Tort

  • Duty of care – You must prove that the company owed you a duty of care
  • Breach of duty – You must prove that the duty of care was breached by the business
  • Clear causation proven by the plaintiff – You must prove that the breach is what caused your injuries
  • Documented injuries – You must prove that your injuries are real, often with medical records