What Is a Mass Tort?

Cogburn Law
Madeleine Jones
August 8, 2019

Personal injuries do not always occur to just one individual. Sometimes, you can suffer an injury from a defective product or event – and later realize that many other people have the same experience as you do. In these situations, you can choose to pursue a claim on your own or you can pursue the claim alongside the other injured people. These cases are known as mass torts and can be carried out with the help of a Las Vegas mass tort lawyer.

The Definition of a Mass Tort

A tort is a term for an act of civil wrongdoing that one person or entity commits against another. Torts can encompass numerous types of injury and acts of negligence, including car accidents, trespassing, fraud, medical malpractice, slip and falls, and more. Usually, these cases involve injury to one or two people committed by an at-fault party.

Mass torts, on the other hand, include many more people who have suffered injuries due to one related act of wrongdoing. For a case to be a mass tort, it has to involve a large volume of claims of injury related to the act of wrongdoing, usually a product or device. In addition, there are multiple plaintiffs with similar stories about how they suffered injury because of the act of wrongdoing.

A mass tort is not to be confused with negligent, strict liability, or intentional torts.

Common Types of Mass Torts

Mass torts can take on numerous forms as long as a number of people suffered injury from one act of wrongdoing. Many mass tort cases involve acts of negligence on behalf of a large company or government entity. Some of the most common types of mass torts include the following.

  • Pharmaceutical claims where a drug causes significant health consequences to the people who took it. Even if the drug underwent rigorous testing, it could still lead to injuries such as cancer, birth defects, and reproductive harm.
  • Environmental claims where a company or entity commits an act that harms the environment where people live. For example, water contamination and toxic chemicals can lead to a reduction in tourism, birth defects, and a loss of running water in the home.
  • Consumer product claims where one malfunctioning product or device led to the injuries of multiple people. For example, a dangerous toy with small parts marketed to toddlers can cause choking, injury, and death without adequate warning. Defective brakes in a series of cars can lead to significant numbers of car accidents.

What’s the Difference Between Class Action and Mass Torts?

Since both types of claims involve litigation against a single entity or group, you may wonder if a mass tort is the same as a class-action lawsuit. There is a significant difference between these two types of cases, namely in the division of damages.

In a class-action lawsuit, you enter into litigation with a group of people and the courts add up all of your damages into one large claim. When the court awards you a settlement, it will divide the compensation equally between all of you – without consideration of the specific damages each of you suffered.

However, mass torts operate in a similar way to a personal injury lawsuit. Mass torts are individual claims filed alongside one another against a common entity or entities. You will submit an itemized list of your damages, and you will receive a settlement personalized to you.

What Damages Can You Receive in a Mass Tort?

If you suffered from injuries related to a mass tort claim, you and your fellow plaintiffs could receive significant compensation for your damages. You can claim both economic, tangible damages and non-economic, emotional damages, including the following.

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Disability accommodations
  • Property damage

Mass torts can help multiple people claim justice against a defendant or a group of defendants. If you have an injury due to an at-fault party and you believe that other people may also have the same story, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your Las Vegas injury attorney can advise you on the appropriate course of action and help you reach other potential plaintiffs.