The lawyers at Buttafuoco & Associates often field questions from our clients about how much their mass tort claims are worth. While this is typically very specific to each plaintiff’s claim, there are some common things to consider when putting a dollar amount to damages in a tort case.
In this article, I’ll discuss the difference between mass tort and class action lawsuits, the types of mass tort lawsuits we see at Buttafuoco & Associates, and the common factors that determine how much your mass tort claim is worth. If you need help or guidance for this type of case, we would be happy to help during a free consultation.
Mass Tort vs. Class Action Lawsuits
First, to consider how much your mass tort claim is worth, it’s important to understand the differences between a mass tort lawsuit and a class action lawsuit. They’re both legal frameworks where lawyers represent large numbers of individuals who’ve been harmed by the same defendant (often a company or organization), but there are two key differences that may affect your compensation:
1. How cases are settled:
The plaintiffs in a class action suit consolidate their cases into a single lawsuit. In the mass tort process, however, multiple plaintiffs file individual lawsuits against a common defendant. Each plaintiff’s case is evaluated individually (either being settled or going to court), and the amount of compensation awarded to each plaintiff may vary depending on the severity of their injuries. In other words, class action cases group everyone’s claims into a single large legal action—one big case—while mass tort cases are composed of lots of individual lawsuits.
2. How damages are distributed:
In a class action lawsuit, damages are awarded to the class (the group of plaintiffs) as a whole, and each individual receives a proportionate share of the damages based on their harm suffered. In other words, there’s a single payout from the defendant which is divided up among the plaintiffs. In mass tort litigation, on the other hand, since each case is settled individually, damages are determined and awarded to each plaintiff individually.
As you can imagine, mass tort cases bring significantly higher settlements than class action cases, so it’s important not to confuse them.
To learn more about these differences, get in touch with a mass tort attorney serving New York at 1-800-NOW-HURT.
Types of Mass Tort Cases
There is a wide variety of types of mass tort cases, but we tend to see a few recurring categories.
Three common types of mass tort cases include:
These lawsuits involve claims against drug manufacturers for injuries or side effects caused by prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Recently, mass torts have been piling up regarding the use of acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) during pregnancy, leading to neurological disorders, including autism.
2. Product liability:
These lawsuits involve claims against manufacturers or distributors for injuries caused by defective or dangerous products. Most recently, we’ve been working with plaintiffs on current mass tort cases involving Johnson and Johnson’s talc powder and Bayer’s Roundup weed killer.
These lawsuits involve claims against companies for harm caused by environmental pollution, exposure to toxic chemicals, or other hazardous substances. Currently, the highest profile environment mass tort case is likely the case involving toxic water supplies at Camp Lejeune.
Determining Damages in Mass Tort Cases
Determining the value of a mass tort case can be complex, and Buttafuoco & Associates can help you determine the important factors that will be relevant to your case.
Since mass torts are settled or litigated individually, the factors of your individual claim are incredibly important. Some of the factors a mass tort lawyer serving New York will consider when evaluating your case include:
- Severity of your injuries
- The cost of your medical treatment
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Once these factors have been evaluated, your settlement will be placed in a specific tier which holds a specific dollar value. The more severe your injuries and more expensive your treatments, the more you will recover in damages. Some plaintiffs in mass torts receive millions of dollars in damages–for example, in the case of a life-altering injury or disease. Recent high-dollar mass torts include cases involving Roundup weed killer and Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder.
If you believe your personal injury case may be part of a mass tort, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates for a free consultation. Our experienced mass tort attorneys in New York can evaluate the strength of your case, gather relevant evidence, and go toe-to-toe with the corporate legal teams used to shield organizations and corporations often at fault in these cases.
Have questions about your case? Call 1-800-NOW-HURT.