There are several branches of civil law, and mass tort is one of them. Under the law, a “tort” is a civil wrong, as opposed to a crime. In civil lawsuits, tort law or personal injury law applies. This law states that a plaintiff in a case must show the defendant’s negligent act that led to the harm they suffered on a preponderance of evidence or balance of probabilities.
Tort or injury lawsuits aim to compensate the plaintiff and not punish the wrongdoer. A plaintiff who wants the defendant punished has to file a criminal complaint. However, the act must amount to a crime for a criminal wrong to exist. Now, mass tort claims are different from standard tort actions. While the latter typically has one plaintiff and a defendant, the former is different.
Our mass tort lawyers at Rueb Stoller Daniel discuss all you need to know about these claims. Contact us immediately if you believe you have a valid claim.
What Does Mass Tort Mean?
Our years practicing as mass tort lawyers have shown us that while most people have heard of the term, few fully understand what it means. First, there’s no universal definition for mass tort. A mass tort claim exists when a person or company commits a harmful act against more than one person. The act could be willful, negligent, or with no intent at all.
However, since it is a civil action, whether or not there was intent does not affect the compensation claim. Instead, what the law looks at is the harm suffered by those affected by the harmful action. This is why most cases are against companies or manufacturers of necessary items. Examples are:
- Claims over the safety of the herbicide Roundup and other weed killers containing glyphosate
- Lawsuits claiming asbestos in talcum powder causes ovarian cancer in women and other mesothelioma lawsuits
- Claims linking Zantac and other heartburn medications containing ranitidine to cancer
- Product liability cases over failed surgical products like hernia mesh and inferior vena cava (IVC) filters
Note that it is not everyone that can commence a claim. To be a valid litigant, you must be able to directly link your illness or harm to the product in question. Furthermore, each mass tort case is decided on its merits, so what applies to one may not apply to all. Let’s use the claims against Johnson & Johnson talcum Baby Powder as an example.
To qualify for a talcum powder lawsuit, you must meet the following criteria. You must:
- Have used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or Shower-to-Shower talcum powder for four years and above, continuously in the general area
- Be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, mesothelioma, or endometrioid ovarian cancer
- Have been diagnosed in 2009 or later
- Have used talcum powder before menopause
Contact our mass tort lawyers to find out if your case qualifies for a mass tort lawsuit.
What Is the Benefit of a Mass Tort Case?
One primary benefit of an action is economies of scale. Generally, lawsuits are expensive. Hence, litigants can go without justice because they can’t afford to prosecute their case against big corporations alone. Also, plaintiffs in civil cases have the burden of proving their assertions.
Proving these assertions costs money that a plaintiff may not have. This is where these claims come in. In mass tort claims, plaintiffs benefit from shared research. Their lawyers use the research to prove how a product or the manufacturer’s negligence harmed the plaintiffs.
Also, these claims often require expert testimony, and experts are not cheap to hire. By applying the rules of economies of scale, plaintiffs pull their resources together to hire the expert, and their testimony applies in every case. In conclusion, mass tort reduces the cost of litigation and makes it easier for victims to get justice.
What Is the Difference Between Mass Tort and Class Action?
The primary difference between a mass tort and a class action is the plaintiff’s level of involvement. Mass torts are similar to traditional injury claims where each plaintiff is treated as an individual in the suit. In contrast, class action cases are larger with more plaintiffs. In addition, while a plaintiff in mass tort may be required to prove certain facts of their case individually, plaintiffs in a class action are a “class” and have a representative who stands for all of them.
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Our legal team at Rueb Stoller Daniel are well-equipped to help you prove a mass tort claim and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.