If you were seriously hurt because of a defective product or drug or in a man-made disaster, you need to contact a mass tort lawyer at Cates Mahoney, LLC. Your situation may not be unique. When defective drugs, medical products, or vehicles hit the market, they have the potential to hurt hundreds or thousands of people. The same is true for environmental disasters created by unlawful business practices.
You may be suffering injuries for the same reason many others are as well. If so, then your lawsuit may be a mass tort claim, in which case, you must adhere to different procedural rules than you would in a typical suit.
At Cates Mahoney, LLC, our Belleville personal injury lawyers have experience in mass tort claims. During a free consultation, we will listen to your story and ask questions. Your injuries and how they occurred can give us a sense of whether you may have a mass tort claim. We will thoroughly explain your rights and options, and if you wish to move forward with a mass tort claim, we will always guide you through the process, step by step.
Contact us today at 618-277-3644 or online to schedule your no-risk consultation.
What Are Mass Tort Cases?
Mass torts arise when many plaintiffs file individual lawsuits against the defendant(s) alleging the defendants caused all of the plaintiffs’ similar injuries. In most situations, many plaintiffs file suit against the same defendant or multiple defendants. However, mass torts can include plaintiffs filing claims against different defendants that offer similar products or services.
Mass torts often arise when many individuals, whether it is a dozen or thousands, all experience similar circumstances or injuries. While the plaintiff’s likely suffered economic harm, mass torts often include physical and psychological injuries as well.
Mass Torts Are More Efficient Than Individual Lawsuits
During mass tort claims, one law firm can – and often does – represent multiple plaintiffs. This enables a pooling of information and resources. Instead of many law firms each representing one plaintiff and each having to investigate the claim and gather evidence, one law firm can conduct an in-depth investigation, which then benefits multiple plaintiffs.
There are also situations in which multiple law firms work together to benefit all plaintiffs. This is common when there are too many plaintiffs for one firm to handle and when plaintiffs are spread out across the country. The firms may have different clients, however, they all have the same goal: obtaining the maximum compensation for their clients through either a settlement with the defendant or a jury award.
Additionally, because all of the cases in a mass tort claim are so similar, they may be consolidated into one or a few jurisdictions around the country. This can ensure a more efficient use of the justice system’s resources and can save time.
Legal Issues That Lead to Mass Tort Claims
A variety of legal issues can lead to mass tort claims, however, some of the most common include:
- Defective pharmaceutical drugs
- Defective medical devices
- Environmental disasters
- Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as asbestos
- Other defective products (such as Johnson & Johnson talc baby powder)
- Transportation disasters
There have been a number of significant mass tort claims in recent history, including those related to data breaches, prescription opioids, Risperdal – an antipsychotic drug, Invokana – a diabetes medication, hernia mesh, pelvic or vaginal mesh, DePuy hip and knee replacement systems, and talc powder, most commonly purchased Johnson & Johnson baby powder.
Understanding the Differences Between Mass Tort and Class Action Claims
Mass torts and class actions appear to be similar, which is why individuals often confuse them for being the same kind of lawsuit. However, they are different in a number of important ways.
A class action lawsuit is one suit filed against a defendant on behalf of a large group of people. One plaintiff or a small group represent all of the class members during the case. Each person injured by the defendant does not have to prove their situation. Instead, the class representative seeks to prove the defendant’s liability and class members’ injuries in the one suit. Any settlement or award the plaintiff receives is then distributed to each member of the class. Typically, the settlement or award will also include a provision for attorneys’ fees and costs.
A mass tort is not one lawsuit. It is many lawsuits individually filed against the defendants. The lawsuits, while separate, include similar facts, injuries, and/or legal questions.
What Can I Expect in a Mass Tort Case?
If you have been injured in a way that is similar to many other individuals or by the same corporate misconduct, then you may have the right to file a lawsuit that is part of a mass tort claim.
Mass tort claims can be filed at the state or federal level, though many occur in federal court. The appropriate jurisdiction for your case depends on the circumstances. You should speak with an experienced mass tort attorney about whether your situation is part of a mass tort and whether you have a state or federal claim.
If you have a valid legal claim and your attorney is aware that you are one of many plaintiffs that have or will soon sue the defendant, your attorney must ask the court permission to file a mass tort action.
The court will thoroughly review the situation, including:
- How many plaintiffs are involved
- Where the plaintiff’s live
- If the plaintiffs have suffered similar injuries
- Whether the claims arise from the same circumstances
- Where the defendants are incorporated or do business
If the court determines you are part of a mass tort claim, then you will be assigned a judge who is handling these mass tort cases.
Though there are similar lawsuits out there, your lawsuit will still be entirely your own. Through the help of your mass tort claim attorneys, you must prove the facts of your case in order to obtain a settlement or award. If you obtain a financial recovery, it is entirely for you.
A Mass Tort May Become Multi-District Litigation
Your mass tort case may become part of multi-district litigation (MDL) if the federal courts determine it is appropriate to consolidate the mass tort cases. MDL is a unique legal procedure used to handle a large quantity of complex cases as efficiently as possible.
If a Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation decides your mass tort claim should be consolidated with others that have at least one the same factual or legal questions, then this panel determines which federal district court should receive all of the cases.
Once cases are transferred, then that district court oversees discovery and pretrial proceedings in all of them. It also has the power to approve settlements in cases or dismiss those without merit or that have serious procedural errors. Once discovery is over, then your case, if it has not be dismissed or settled, will return to the original court for trial.
A Mass Tort Lawyer From Cates Mahony, LLC Is Here For You
If you have been hurt and believe you are one of many, call us at Cates Mahoney, LLC as soon as you can. We will listen to your story, and if we suspect you are part of a mass tort litigation, we will thoroughly research the circumstances. Based on our findings, we will recommend whether to move forward with an individual lawsuit or ask the court for permission to bring a mass tort claim.
Our legal team has experience with mass torts and will guide you through this process. You do not have to try and seek justice alone. We are always here to explain your rights, state or federal legal procedures, and your options. If your case becomes part of MDL, we will guide you through this process as well.
When you have been hurt because of a business’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing, you deserve your day in court. The law entitles you to a chance to ask for compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and much more. We are here to help you have that day in court and obtain the most compensation possible for your injuries.
To discuss your situation, call our mass tort lawyers at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We handle mass tort cases across the entire United States and throughout Illinois, including but not limited to the communities of Carbondale, Chester, East St. Louis, Swansea, Waterloo and Madison County, Monroe County and Randolph County.