One of the simplest and low cost options for bringing a case against a manufacturer is called mass tort litigation, but what is it? This kind of lawsuit consolidates your claim with the claims of other people (plaintiffs) who have experienced harm from the same drug or device. The goal is to create the strongest case that the product was unsafe and caused serious harm to many people. And typically, a greater number of cases makes for a stronger case collectively. This united front usually results in more compensation for all of the plaintiffs. Recently, transvaginal mesh was deemed extremely dangerous to women who have had these implants. In response, many women have consolidated their cases and they are likewise receiving compensation.
Let’s talk about what mass tort litigation is and why it might be the right course of action for you.
What is Mass Tort Litigation?
A mass tort is very powerful for a few reasons. Most importantly, it is very compelling for a jury to hear about numerous people suffering harm from the same source over and over again.
It effectively demonstrates how horribly impactful the drug or device was to different people. The consistency of the many stories in a mass tort can be difficult to deny. And when you are going up against a giant pharmaceutical company with a seemingly limitless ability to pay lawyers—anything can help.
We have a lot of people that say to us, is this like a class action lawsuit? I don’t want
to go through all this only to get $100 in the mail from a split settlement. This is a totally reasonable question, but guess what? You’re in luck. These are not the same thing.
In a mass tort (unlike a class action lawsuit), each individual case is taken into consideration. While each plaintiff (person bringing their case to the lawsuit) has suffered harm from the same drug, the harm that each person suffered may vary.
For example, let’s say you took a drug that has caused so much suffering that you can no longer work and have trouble taking care of your family. There may be others who have suffered pain and discomfort, it may not have disrupted their lives to the same extent. Or there may be others who required several hospitalizations and procedures. Every case is different.
While every individual case is unique, the underlying injuries were all caused by the same drug—whether the drug was recalled, prescribed for off-label use, or had inherent problems. Each of the individuals who experienced harm sue together under one lawyer. And hey, if you’re going up against a giant corporation for the serious harm they’ve caused, you probably want the best mass tort lawyer in the country. Because even the best trial attorney is a tough match against a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company—it can be hard to level the playing field. With a mass tort, you can access to the top attorneys, and you don’t pay a dime—win or lose. It’s called a contingency agreement.
How does this work? Well, when one attorney or law firm is responsible for a group of cases, then the information they learn about one case is helpful for many more cases as part of the same suit. Otherwise, each individual’s lawyer must conduct her own investigation and work for a one-time suit. That costs a lot more time and money.
But who are we kidding, lawyers (especially the best lawyers) need to be compensated right?Right.
How Do Mass Tort Lawyers Get Compensated if You are Not Paying for It?
If enough people are injured by a product to pursue this type of case, then it is almost always inherently strong. So strong that lawyers agree to take on the case knowing that the only way to get compensation is to win or force a settlement. That’s called a contingency agreement. So, it’s no risk to you. If the lawyer or firm does win the case, they get a portion of the paid compensation in return for their hard work. The attorneys’ cut of the award or settlement varies, but it always leaves the substantial majority of the payout to the victims.