The main difference between class actions and mass torts is how a large number of plaintiffs are treated. With a class action, a lawsuit gets filed on an entire group of people behalf who have suffered similar harm due to the actions of the defendant. That means all of the plaintiffs who are part of the class action get treated as a single plaintiff.
The defendant gets sued by the lead plaintiff on behalf of the whole class. In a mass tort, each of the group’s plaintiffs is treated as individuals. That means that certain facts must be established for each plaintiff, including how the defendant’s action harmed the person.
Usually, the number of plaintiffs is smaller in a mass tort compared to a class action. That is because mass torts have distinct groups of people with similar injuries living in the same geographic location.
Mass torts are also broader and can involve different kinds of injuries that were the result of a defendant or several different corporate defendants’ actions or inactions. Some common mass tort examples include lawsuits against manufacturers of defective products or defective drugs.
Class action lawsuits, by contrast, are more specific. Definite common characteristics must be shared by the plaintiffs in the class. Each class action lawsuit member must be notified of his or her rights or role in the class.