Mass tort litigation–where attorneys help injury victims sue the corporation or large entity responsible for their injuries–have made lots of headlines in recent years, especially in regard to huge settlements. Many mass tort lawsuits against Monsanto, Johnson & Johnson, and other mega-corporations, have been wildly successful, returning millions or even billions of dollars to victims who have been severely injured by corporate negligence. Many people are reluctant to join, but if you are a victim of a company’s negligent practices, a mass tort may be the best route to securing the compensation you need.
I’ll tell you more about what to expect from the legal process below, and when a New York mass tort attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates may be of use.
What is a Mass Tort?
Mass torts are, in a nutshell, personal injury cases involving multiple victims but not to be confused with class action cases. Similar to personal injury cases, they allow plaintiffs to pursue compensation for a variety of economic and non-economic damages. These include medical bills, time off work, disability and disfigurement, and mental or physical pain and suffering.
What’s the difference between personal injury cases and mass tort cases?
The main difference between a personal injury lawsuit and a mass tort is that with a mass tort, there is more than one victim battling the large entity that was responsible for many injuries–sometimes hundreds or thousands. Common claims include prescription drugs, product liability, and toxic or poisonous chemical contamination.
Benefits of Mass Tort Litigation
A clear benefit to a mass tort case is that there is a LOT of power in numbers: when a large number of victims can demonstrate that they were injured in the same way by a particular product, it creates a significantly stronger case than going it alone via a personal injury suit. They can also be less time-consuming, as lawyers are able to share information on clients across different individual cases.
A lawyer serving New York can tell you more about the details of a mass tort and whether you qualify. Give us a call today at 1-800-NOW-HURT for a free consultation.
Mass Torts vs. Class Actions
Mass torts are sometimes confused with class-action lawsuits, as they share a striking similarity that the final settlement is split between the victims. However, an important critique of class-action lawsuits is that victims often recover mere pennies rather than what they need to recover from an injury. The goal of a mass tort, however, is first and foremost for victims to be fairly compensated for the losses they have suffered. Recent high-profile cases, such as those against Roundup weed killer manufacturers, have compensated victims with amounts in the billions.
Why do people who participate in mass torts get paid more than in class action cases?
Rather than splitting the damages evenly among everyone (as happens with class action suits), plaintiffs are compensated depending on the severity of their injuries. This means if you have been seriously injured by a product, or drug, a mass tort can be quite lucrative, and help you cover serious medical and household expenses as well as pain and suffering.
If you would like to know more about how to join a mass tort or have questions about class action lawsuits, Buttafuoco & Associates’ lawyers serving New York can tell you more about cases we are currently working on and whether you are eligible to join.
Steps in the Mass Tort Process
While all legal cases are different, there is a typical structure for the mass tort litigation process.
Because these cases are handled by a group of attorneys representing many victims, the first step involves attorneys gathering to review the evidence in the case. During this phase, they pay careful attention to the types and severity of injuries victims suffered, sharing evidence and details with one another to strengthen cases. They then work out a strategy for proving that the specific product in question caused the plaintiffs’ injuries.
What’s a Multidistrict Litigation?
After they have reviewed the evidence, the attorneys file what is known as a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in federal court. A multidistrict litigation consolidates complex cases so they’re being managed by one court. Because plaintiffs may live in geographically disparate areas, an MDL must be filed. In some cases, corporations will settle with victims and lawyers will negotiate a fair amount of compensation. In others, the case then goes to federal court, where attorneys present evidence of how plaintiffs have been harmed by the situation at hand to a judge. Once the argument phase wraps up, the judge makes a decision and victims receive payouts.
Timeline for Mass Tort Litigation
Knowing the timeline for mass tort cases is often incredibly important to plaintiffs, especially when they are facing life-threatening illnesses and desperately need prompt medical care. Depending on the case, it may take weeks, months, or years. This is true of all personal injury cases, so mass tort cases are not exceptional in this regard. Some will go quite quickly (especially if the corporation offers a fair settlement amount which plaintiffs agree to), while others will not.
Gathering expert witnesses, collecting evidence from many plaintiffs, and conducting thorough investigations all take time. Sometimes there are issues with defendants who refuse to settle out of court, in which a case can take years.
Having a reputable New York attorney on your side who communicates clearly and provides updates on timelines can be very helpful to plaintiffs in these cases.
Mass Tort Settlement Amounts
Another major benefit of a mass tort is that each claim is handled as an individual personal injury case. This means compensation will be different for everyone.
In a nutshell, compensation is reflective of the level of loss each plaintiff experienced. One person may have suffered $5000 in damages due to a toxic product exposure, while another may have suffered $500,000. In other words, compensation is proportional to damages, and settlement amounts are often arranged in tiers. To determine amounts, law firms will consider exposure, causation, injuries, and damages caused by the problematic drug or product. For detailed information on how settlements are determined, visit our blog.
Do You Have a Case?
If you have been injured due to a company’s negligence, Buttafuoco & Associates may be able to help. Our law firm in New York is committed to helping clients recover the maximum amount they are entitled to and will fight for your rights in court against unethical corporations.
To find out more about whether you have a case, get in touch today at 1-800-NOW-HURT for a free consultation.