Mass tort is an effective legal option for multiple plaintiffs to seek remedy for the harm that has been caused by big businesses. This type of legal avenue is pursued by large groups of people when their rights have been violated by government entities, corporations, or other organizations.
If that group was injured by the same product in a similar way, an Albany mass tort lawyer with Morelli Law can handle this type of complex litigation. Mass torts allow plaintiffs to seek compensation for all parties who have been injured or sustained financial losses. Multiple lawyers can pool their resources, information and ideas to obtain fair settlements for their clients.
What Exactly Is a Mass Tort?
When an institution commits an act or behavior that causes injury to many people, a mass tort case allows many individuals to pursue their own specific damages while suing one entity as a whole act or omission that harms or injures numerous people.
Mass torts have previously been filed and litigated in cases involving things like:
- Groundwater contamination
- Toxic waste disposal
- Industrial pollution
- Tobacco litigation
- Railroad accidents
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Asbestos litigation
- Agent Orange
- Silicone breast implants and other medical devices
Mass torts can be filed in several different circumstances. An Albany mass tort lawyer can help you to determine the best course of legal action for your circumstances.
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Three Kinds of Mass Torts
In the event that many individuals experienced the same situation but experienced dramatically different side effects or losses, there is good reason for a mass tort case. Cases generally fall into 3 different categories.
Mass Toxic Tort Cases
This involves a group of people who were exposed to toxic chemicals or substances. The plaintiffs in a toxic mass tort case could have been harmed by the exposure at work, at home, or just by existing in an environment near the chemicals.
Harmful chemical injuries can take years to manifest following exposure, like the damages caused to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service several decades ago. This makes toxic chemical liability tricky to prove and harder to litigate. Some examples of toxic chemicals cases include:
- Industrial chemicals exposure, such as exposure to dangerous chemicals at a job site
- Industrial pollutant disposal, such as toxic waste dumped in rivers or water supplies
- Lead based paint exposure
- Pesticides, such as Agent Orange
- Asbestos cases, a seemingly endless source of litigation and the grandfather of mass torts
Product Liability Mass Torts
This is the type of case where people are harmed by defective products, defective drugs, or faulty medical devices. The injuries from these claims are often vastly different in the eyes of the law, so a mass tort litigation almost always happens when these products are found to be defective.
Usually to prove liability in a mass tort case, you need to prove negligence. It is not always required for negligence to exist in a product liability case. Often you will only need to show that the product can be defined as defective and that the defect resulted in injuries or harm. There are three ways a product can be defective:
- Manufacturing Defects – The product has somehow departed from its intended function at any point during the manufacturing process, like drugs that have been tainted
- Marketing Defects – The product lacked warnings of intended consequences or there was false advertising or something else incorrect or omitted from labeling
- Design Defects – Inherent design flaws, such as a hair dryer that catches fire when used on a high setting, or defective drugs formulated with cancer-causing ingredients
Mass Disaster Torts
Natural disasters, man-made accidents, or big catastrophes that have created widespread harm are reasons for mass tort cases. Some examples of disasters that have resulted in mass tort actions include:
- Apartment fires
- Explosions at manufacturing plants
- Train derailments
- Commercial jet crashes
- Oil spills from commercial petroleum companies
These catastrophic incidents are only some of the situations that create havoc and spread suffering and damage. Each person suffers different losses and injuries, but a common party is usually responsible for the disastrous incident.
Instead of filing separate claims that bog down the court systems and load the dockets with repeated litigation, victims can form a mass tort to pursue compensation for their individual damages to be remedied in a more timely fashion.
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What Is the Difference Between a Mass Tort and a Class Action Lawsuit?
As with class actions, mass tort cases address the injuries of numerous people, can take years to resolve, and quite often result in financial settlements. A mass tort action does depart from the rules of a class action case in a few ways.
First, a class action requires you to waive your rights to further litigation if you are unsatisfied with the result. A class action also treats all the plaintiffs equally as though they were one single entity with the same exact damages.
In a mass tort case, your individual damages are assessed and awarded as opposed to a class action which provides equal amounts to each member of the class. A mass tort is designed so that each plaintiff has their claims assessed individually, so their specific damages can be fairly compensated.
Call Our Mass Tort Lawyers in Albany Today to Learn More About Your Options
Mass tort attorneys must possess a certain skill set to exceed in the practice of mass tort law. These kinds of cases are more involved than traditional class actions, and they don’t follow typical legal procedure. Mass tort lawyers who are gifted with an aptitude for collaboration and oral argument can be valuable assets for your case.
Morelli Law has has returned remarkable rewards and settlements for people injured by negligence and defective products. Our class action lawyers have won thousands of claims for our clients and improve our track record continuously. Call us today to find out more and schedule a free case evaluation. We are here to help you.