Both class action lawsuits and mass tort cases involve a group of victims suing the same defendant or defendants. However, there are important differences between the two types of litigation. One major difference is that plaintiffs in a mass tort lawsuit have more control. If you aren’t sure if you have a right to join a current class action or mass tort case, call and speak with one of our attorneys at Rueb Stoller Daniel right away.
What Are the Differences Between a Mass Tort Case and a Class Action Lawsuit?
A mass tort case involves many plaintiffs injured by the same defendant. They are also hurt by the same type of event or activity. For example, people who were hurt by a defective drug or product may join a mass tort case.
In this type of litigation, each plaintiff files their own lawsuit against the defendant. The cases are grouped together for portions of the legal process because it is more practical. Settlements are reached on a case-by-case basis, and plaintiffs may receive different amounts of money.
A class action lawsuit also involves numerous plaintiffs. Like in a mass tort case, they were all hurt by the same defendant and in the same way. However, instead of filing individual lawsuits, they collectively file one together.
A few members of the class are designated as class representatives, and they speak on behalf of the whole class. When the case settles, the money is divided among the plaintiffs. The lead plaintiff or plaintiffs receive a larger share of the money, but the other plaintiffs
The Main Difference Is the Amount of Power and Control the Plaintiffs Have
In a mass tort case, plaintiffs have more control over how the case is handled. They can accept or reject a settlement. They can also hire the mass tort attorney of their choice.
With a class action, you will have very little control at all unless you’re chosen as one of the lead plaintiffs. The lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit decides whether to settle, although others can opt out of the lawsuit if they don’t agree.
Plaintiffs in a Mass Tort Case Have the Right to Hire Their Own Mass Tort Attorney
One difference with a mass tort case is that plaintiffs can choose their own mass tort attorney. With a class action, you have to join an existing class. There could be numerous lawyers handling the litigation.
The Requirements for Each Type of Case Are Different
To file either type of action, you must meet certain criteria. The rules are different for each type of case.
Since many class action cases are filed in federal court, Federal Rule 23 outlines the requirements for a class action lawsuit.
- The class must be large enough that it would not be feasible or practical to have them all file separate lawsuits.
- All the plaintiffs involved in the class action lawsuit share the same legal issues.
- The plaintiffs also share the same kind of claims and defenses.
- The people who are appointed to be lead plaintiffs can fairly and fully represent the interests of the rest of the class.
For a mass tort lawsuit, the case must meet these criteria:
- The plaintiffs must all have a claim against the same defendant or defendants.
- All the plaintiffs involved in the mass tort case must have suffered a similar injury or illness at the hands of the defendant(s).
- The claims filed by the various plaintiffs must all be related to the same event, product, or other issue.
Some of the more common cases mass tort attorneys handle include chemical spills, airplane crashes, and defective medical devices.
How Compensation Is Divided in a Mass Tort vs a Class Action Lawsuit
In a mass tort, the court evaluates each case individually. One plaintiff might get more compensation than another based on the harm he or she has suffered. In a class action, compensation is divided among the members of the class. However, the lead plaintiff typically receives the most money.
If You Think You May Have Grounds to Sue, Contact a Mass Tort Attorney Right Away
Many people read about mass tort cases and class action lawsuits online all the time. However, most people don’t know the difference between the two. We suggest you contact our office and speak to someone about your case. It’s important that you contact an attorney right away, so you don’t lose your chance to sue.