In its most basic legal terms, a tort is an act that causes harm or infringement of a right for which the responsible party has civil legal liability. In layman’s terms, torts are essentially any action committed against you, aside from a breach of contract, for which you have the right to sue the offending party.
Mass tort law refers to a specific occurrence where a single tort is committed against a large group of victims, and these plaintiffs collectively sue the perpetrator. The cases of the various victims, rather than being tried separately where a large company could potentially drain the resources of each individual, the cases are combined and heard by one judge, allowing the victims to pool their resources and collect similar evidence.
While similar to a class action lawsuit, mass tort lawsuits differ in that the plaintiffs are more individualized due to their potentially having a wide variety of injuries, and mass torts also do not have to be legally certified like a class in a class action suit has to be.
Generally, mass tort lawsuits fall into one of several different categories distinguished by cause. In this blog we have detailed some of the most common causes of mass tort lawsuits.
When companies that provide for agricultural needs—such as seed provider—commit a tort that injures a large number of farms across the countries, the affected farmers can bring a mass tort lawsuit against the offending company in order to pursue compensation for their losses.
Defective Medical Device Torts
When a medical device—oftentimes ones that are implanted inside patients—is discovered to be defective in a manner which causes harm or injury to patients, there may be grounds for a mass tort lawsuit in which all the victims of the same faulty medical device can participate.
Defective Product Torts
This category of mass tort covers a broad range of possible lawsuits. In general, it refers to any situation where groups of consumers purchased a defective product that resulted in injury to consumers. Some common examples of this is a product that presents an unexpected choking hazard to a child or a type of vehicle that has a defect that results in automobile accidents.
It is believed that mass tort law was created in the 1960s by an attorney who sought to bring lawsuits for all the victims of a plane crash. This would fall under the category of a disaster tort. These can be any large scale disaster or accident that results in injuries to many people, such as a train accident or a boat sinking.
Similar to defective medical devices, it is not uncommon for pharmaceutical companies to distribute drugs that have unintended side effects and consequences. When a bad drug results in injury or even death to groups of people who took the drug, there may be grounds for bringing a pharmaceutical mass tort lawsuit.
A toxic tort results when people are exposed to dangerous or even lethal chemicals or toxins. A topical example of this is the case of the City of Flint, Michigan which switched its water source to the Flint River from the Detroit city reservoir, only to find that the people of Flint were consuming high quantities of lead, which some claim has led to deaths caused by Legionnaires Disease and may also harm the brain development of children.
If you believe you have been harmed in a case that may be grounds for a mass tort lawsuit, please contact Inkelaar Law today and let us fight to help you obtain the compensation for your damages that you deserve.