When victims of product or environmental accidents sue for damages through legal remedy means, two primary forms of litigation exist to help collect them: mass tort action and class action lawsuits. The main difference between them lies in how many plaintiffs join.
Mass tort lawsuits involve many plaintiffs with similar injuries, typically represented by one or several lawyers. By contrast, class representative action litigation refers to many claimants represented by one legal advice counsel.
Class action suits tend to be much larger in scale than mass tort claims lawsuits; both options can be complex and time-consuming. It is best to consult an attorney specializing in civil law to ascertain which form is the most advisable in your situation. If negligence has injured you, consulting an experienced lawyer before deciding can help ensure the process goes smoothly.
What Is A Mass Tort (MTT)?
A mass tort occurs when several people, injured by one product or action, sue its creator (usually companies) for damages. They seek compensation for injuries and losses from the product/action.The plaintiff (injured person/group) then sues their perpetrator (company/individual responsible).
Mass torts can emerge from various causes. Defective products like medications and car parts can injure people. Exposure to toxic substances such as lead paint or asbestos is another cause. In rare cases, shared incidents like train collisions can harm or kill people.
What is a Class Action Suit?
Class action lawsuits are civil actions filed by one or more lead plaintiffs on behalf of a large group (class). It may be impractical or impossible for all class members to sue individually; class actions offer the perfect solution when such individual litigation would not suffice.
People may file class action lawsuits for mass torts, breach of contract disputes, and antitrust violations. Mass tort litigations must demonstrate that one product or event harmed many individuals. Typically, a class action lawsuit will cover these claims as well.
How are mass tort and class action suits different?
The difference between Mass tort and class action lawsuits is significant in several vital ways. First, mass torts often involve more individual plaintiffs than class actions do and present more complicated legal issues to tackle than those brought forth through class actions. Finally, mass tort trials typically go before a judge rather than a jury for trial purposes.
Mass tort cases typically involve larger groups of plaintiffs than class action lawsuits due to large-scale disasters like product recalls or environmental incidents; by comparison, class action lawsuits usually consist of smaller numbers of people all experiencing the same harm.
Mass tort cases often revolve around complex legal action such as product liability or medical negligence; class action lawsuits focus on more superficial issues like breach of contract or consumer fraud.
Finally, mass tort cases typically are tried before a judge, while class action lawsuits usually go before juries for trial. Mass tort litigation often involves complex legal issues requiring an experienced judge’s consideration and determination. At the same time, class action cases involve more minor problems that are better left up to jurors to decide.
Which solution best matches your case?
Which form is appropriate in your situation? That depends entirely upon its facts and circumstances; for instance, if your injuries resulted from defective product use, joining a class action against its manufacturer might make more sense than filing individual personal injury claims against other drivers involved in an auto accident.
Mass tort and class action lawsuits can have advantages and disadvantages, so if you need help choosing which option best fits you, it would be wise to consult an attorney who can assess all available choices to find the ideal choice in your circumstances.
How can you determine the one to file?
When making this choice, there are a few key aspects to remember when comparing mass tort or class action suits.
- Mass tort may be preferable over class actions when damages are substantial, as each plaintiff could obtain more of their share. With class actions, each claimant would only recover part of what would otherwise have been awarded as damages.
- If a plaintiff has an impressive case, class actions can often be the more advantageous choice as it allows them to pool resources with fellow claimants to be more likely to succeed in court proceedings against defendants than mass tort suits would allow. A mass tort would force each plaintiff to litigate alone, making for more complicated legal battles overall.
- If a plaintiff has limited resources, class actions are often the better choice because they allow for cost-sharing among different plaintiffs. In contrast, mass tort suits could require each to bear all associated litigation expenses and may prove prohibitively expensive for many individuals.
- If the plaintiff needs injunctive relief, filing a class action may be preferable as this allows all class members to obtain relief simultaneously, whereas filing a mass tort would only grant relief individually.
- Class actions in federal courts can offer more benefits, allowing plaintiffs to present claims in more favorable courts. Mass tort litigation requires presenting them in state courts, which may be less receptive.