When a defective product causes an injury, anyone who suffered harm has grounds to bring a lawsuit seeking damages. However, our court system is ill-equipped to handle a deluge of lawsuits if the product harmed many people.
The manufacturer might have to defend simultaneous lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions, multiple judges and juries might need to learn technical information to help them understand the issues the claims raise, and claimants might receive disparate awards, depending on the jurisdiction where they brought their lawsuit. In many cases, it could be years before a claimant has their day in court.
Mass torts are a way to streamline the process and ensure all injured parties have access to the courts. It preserves individual claims for damages but makes proving a manufacturer liable far more efficient. If you suffered an injury because of a defective drug or product, consult a Wesley Chapel mass tort lawyer to learn whether you could join a mass tort action to pursue your claim. Get in touch with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Distasio Law Firm today to get started.
Types of Mass Tort Cases
The mass tort process works effectively when large numbers of people suffer injuries from a defective product—especially if only one manufacturer produces the product. However, mass torts can be successful even if a product has multiple manufacturers. Many mass tort cases involve drugs, medical devices, and consumer products.
Nearly any product liability claim could be a mass tort if enough people suffered injuries. In addition, disasters such as plane crashes and oil spills could lead to mass tort cases. Currently, scores of mass tort cases are before the courts, including lawsuits seeking damages for injuries caused by:
- Pressure cookers
- Pesticides, including paraquat and Roundup
- Talcum powder
- CPAP and BPAP machines
- Chinese drywall
- Paragard IUD
- Drugs including Elmiron, Invokana, Viagra, and Zantac
- Some knee and hip replacements
This is a partial list of mass torts currently moving through the court system. If you suffered an injury from a product and there is currently no mass tort action relating to the product, a proactive attorney in Wesley Chapel could investigate. If a large group of people suffered ill effects from using the product, your diligent legal counsel could petition a court to consider consolidating cases into a mass tort.
How Mass Tort Cases Work
Mass torts are a way to make litigation less expensive and more equitable. Individual claimants bring lawsuits, but courts consolidate the suits and hear evidence only once. Typically, several courts in different regions of the country will hear lawsuits related to the issue. The courts might consolidate hundreds or even thousands of cases into a dozen or fewer.
One law firm or panel of attorneys will present the evidence, and the claimants will share the cost of expert witnesses and other litigation expenses. If the claimants prove the defendant is liable, each claimant may present proof of their damages.
Mass torts differ from class action lawsuits, which require a court to certify that a product or event caused a class of people to suffer a similar injury. If the defendant is liable, each member of the class gets an equal share of the award. In a mass tort, claimants may have varying injuries caused by the same product or event. If they prove the defendant liable, each claimant will receive an individual damages award based on the proof of damages they submit.
Damages in a Mass Tort Case
The law in the state where the claimant resides determines the damages they could collect. Unlike many states, Florida places no caps on a claimant’s compensatory damages in an injury case.
As a Wesley Chapel claimant, your dedicated attorney could seek damages for all your injury-related expenditures, including:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Mental health counseling
- Pharmacy expenses
- Incidental outlays related to treating or learning to live with the injury
You also could seek lost earnings and compensation for your reduced future earning potential. Damages could include payment to acknowledge your physical pain and emotional suffering resulting from the injury.
Florida Statutes §768.72 allows a claimant to seek punitive damages if they can prove a defendant engaged in intentional misconduct or was grossly negligent. Many mass torts have resulted in claimants receiving punitive damages.
Trust Your Claim to a Wesley Chapel Mass Torts Attorney
If you suffered an injury due to a defective product or an oil spill, plane crash, or similar disaster, you could be just one of many people with a valid claim for financial recovery. When multiple claimants seek compensation against a defendant, a court could consolidate cases into a mass tort action.
Participating in a mass tort case increases efficiency, reduces litigation expenses, and could result in you getting justice sooner. In addition, a mass tort lawsuit delivers a significant blow to the reputation of the defendant, establishing that its conduct caused harm to many people. Reach out to a Wesley Chapel mass tort lawyer at Distasio Law Firm if you believe you have a case that could qualify as a mass tort.