A mass tort lawsuit works by grouping multiple individual lawsuits together while preserving each plaintiff’s unique case and distinct damages. A mass tort lawsuit allows many people with similar injuries from the same source to collectively bring their personal injury cases against the same defendant.
If you were injured by a defective product, dangerous medication, or an environmental toxin, you may be able to join a mass tort. Our Los Angeles mass tort lawyers from KJT Law Group can help with your case and explain your legal options.
What Is a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
A mass tort lawsuit is a lawsuit that groups together multiple similar, individual lawsuits. Each individual lawsuit alleges the same or similar complaint against the same defendant. A mass tort is a type of multidistrict litigation action, meaning that the plaintiffs may live far apart.
By consolidating certain aspects of the trial, mass tort lawsuits are more efficient for the court system. This legal action also helps plaintiffs strengthen their case through numbers.
For example, several people may have suffered injuries because of a defective medical device, but the type and severity of their injuries might not be the same. Because they were all injured by the same device, they could group their individual lawsuits together into a mass tort against the same manufacturer.
Mass Tort Example: Philips CPAP Lawsuits
In June 2021, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) alerted the public that Philips Respironics recalled several of its CPAP machines because of potential side effects. The polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam used to reduce sound and vibrations in these devices can break down and enter its air pathway, causing people to inhale or swallow PE-PUR particles.
Philips CPAP devices were found to be defective because they have been linked to:
- Lung issues including respiratory injuries and irritation, respiratory failure, cancer, and asthma
- Eye and skin irritation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Kidney and liver problems
People injured by a Philips CPAP device may be able to join a mass tort lawsuit.
Common Types of Mass Tort Lawsuits
In a mass tort lawsuit, each plaintiff was harmed by the same product or incident but suffered various types and degrees or injuries. There are many types of defective products or harmful incidents for which plaintiffs could hold a defendant accountable.
Here are some of the most common types of mass tort lawsuits:
- Defective medical devices such as Philips CPAP machines, hip and knee implants, hernia and transvaginal meshes, birth control implants, and more
- Defective medications such as Zantac, Seroquel, and Depakote
- Massive catastrophes such as building fires, train accidents, and plane crashes
- Toxic contamination such as the lead contamination in the water supply of Flint, Michigan
Are Mass Tort Lawsuits and Class Action Lawsuits the Same?
Sometimes, people confuse mass tort lawsuits with class action lawsuits. Both lawsuits represent large groups of people, so it is an easy mistake to make, but they are not the same.
- In a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs are grouped together and the verdict applies to everyone in the group. A person who joins a class action lawsuit agrees to accept the group verdict and forfeits the right to file an individual lawsuit in the future.
- In a mass tort lawsuit, each plaintiff is treated as an individual even though the cases are grouped together. The plaintiffs do not agree to a single verdict or forfeit their right to an individual lawsuit. Plaintiffs can receive a unique settlement or verdict based on their own damages.
How Does a Mass Tort Lawsuit Work?
A mass tort lawsuit allows multiple people with similar complaints to file an individual lawsuit against the same defendant. If you are considering joining a mass tort lawsuit, here is an overview of the mass torts process:
File a Claim
Our Los Angeles mass tort lawyer will file a lawsuit against the negligent party on behalf of each individual plaintiff. Consolidating many cases into one mass tort action strengthens each case and helps the process run more efficiently.
During this phase, our Los Angeles mass tort attorney will gather information related to your case. We will investigate your claim that you were injured by the defendant’s negligence. We will collect your medical records to substantiate your injuries and to establish a timeline. We will also interview expert witnesses and healthcare providers, review medical literature, and gather other evidence to bolster your case and estimate how much compensation you deserve.
We may also interview other plaintiffs with similar complaints and investigate their cases. A mass torts lawsuit needs enough plaintiffs with similar issues to succeed. We will investigate each individual case, making sure that each case is strong and fits the overall pattern before adding it to the mass tort lawsuit.
We will try the lawsuit in federal court as a multidistrict litigation action with plaintiffs in multiple locations. A few key plaintiffs may proceed first as “bellwether trials.” These trials act as test cases so that we can see how the jury will react and help us predict the outcome of the larger lawsuit.
We can resolve a mass tort lawsuit through a jury verdict or an out-of-court settlement. Many plaintiffs and defendants prefer to settle out of court because it is faster and easier. Court trials are lengthy, and there is no guarantee of the outcome for either side. Settlements provide everyone with a concrete outcome.
Our lawyer can help you determine whether to accept a settlement offer. Because each plaintiff in a mass tort lawsuit retains their individual lawsuit, your settlement will be based on your own injuries. You do not have to receive the same settlement as other plaintiffs who may have slightly different injuries than you.
Time Limits in a Mass Tort Lawsuit
While your injuries may linger for a long time, you only have a short amount of time to file a lawsuit against the party that harmed you. CCP § 335.1 establishes the statute of limitations for personal injury at two years from either the date of the injury or the date that you discovered your injury, which may be later. Once the statute of limitations ends, you lose your right to sue the responsible party, even if you have a solid case.
It can be confusing to figure out when the clock starts, especially if you did not notice your injuries right away. Our mass tort attorney in LA can listen to your story, establish a timeline of events, and help you determine how these laws apply to your case. We will make sure you file your lawsuit before time runs out.
Can I Afford a Lawyer for a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
If you were harmed by a product, device, medication, or believe you have other grounds for a mass torts lawsuit, do not let financial concerns keep you from pursuing justice. Even if you think that you cannot afford a mass tort lawyer in LA, you can.
Our lawyers work on contingency, which means we take our fees from your settlement or verdict award. In other words, we only get paid when you do. You never pay anything up front or out of pocket, so there is no financial risk to you when you hire our team to represent you.
KJT Law Group Can Assist With Your Mass Tort Lawsuit
If you were injured by a defective medical device such as a Philips CPAP machine, you may be able to join with others who were injured by the same device in a mass tort action against the manufacturer.
Our Las Angeles mass tort lawyer with KJT Law Group may be able to help you recover damages for medical care, pain and suffering, and more. Contact us today at (818)507-8525 for a free case consultation.