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Mass Tort FAQs

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August 29, 2023

Mass torts, class action, and multidistrict litigation are terms that are often heard but maybe not as often understood. We have put together some of the questions that we frequently hear in relation to mass torts to help you understand more about these lawsuits. 

For more information about mass torts or if you think you may have a mass tort claim, contact our Morris James Mass Tort attorneys online or by calling 302.655.2599.

What is a mass tort action?

A mass tort action is a civil case in which multiple plaintiffs who have been injured by the same negligent conduct sue a defendant or group of defendants for the harm they caused.

Is a mass tort case the same as a class action?

A mass tort case is not the same as a class action. Both types of actions involve a group of plaintiffs suing for injuries caused by a defendant’s negligent conduct, but, in a class action, all of the claims are combined into one case. If a class action is successful, each plaintiff then receives an equal share of the group’s award or settlement. In a  mass tort case, the claims are grouped together by the court, often in multidistrict litigation, but each plaintiff still retains their own individual claim. Therefore, when a mass tort action is successful, each plaintiff’s compensation can be different and is valued according to their own individual injuries and damages.

What Is M.D.L. or Multidistrict litigation?

Multidistrict litigation or M.D.L. is often used in mass tort cases. M.D.L. is a way of consolidating multiple cases based on similar factual issues in one federal court system for efficient processing. It allows the same issues and legal procedures to be handled simultaneously by the court, and saves time and resources for the parties and the judicial system.

What should I do if I think I have a mass tort claim?

If you think you may have a mass tort claim, you should contact a reputable mass tort lawyer, like the mass tort attorneys at Morris James, for advice. Many law firms, including Morris James, will offer a free first consultation so that you have an opportunity to discuss your case with a professional. In this consultation, you will have the opportunity to find out more about what you might be entitled to for your injuries and how to pursue a successful mass tort claim. You can also find out more about the lawyer and whether or not they are the right law firm to handle your case. 

How do I start a mass tort claim?

The first step in bringing a mass tort claim is to contact a lawyer who is experienced in handling mass torts. Mass tort actions are complex, involving many parties and large compensation figures. You should not attempt to pursue a mass tort claim without reliable legal representation. Your attorney will investigate and evaluate your claim, with the help of medical and industry experts, and prepare a claim with supporting evidence. They will officially “start” your claim by filing it documents in the correct court within critical legal deadlines. Once your case has been filed, your attorney will deal with all communication and negotiations from the court and the defendants in the case. Your attorney can advise you on what to expect next after filing a mass tort claim. As a mass tort case, the timing of your claim will be affected by the status of the other cases that have been filed. 

What are bellwether trials?

Bellwether trials are common in mass tort actions. They are test cases that are chosen out of the thousands of claims in a mass tort action to go to trial. The outcome of the bellwether trials gives all of the parties an idea of what will happen if an individual claim goes to trial, and can expedite settlement negotiations. 

How long does a mass tort lawsuit take?

A mass tort lawsuit can be a long and complicated process because of the number of parties and issues involved. Some mass tort litigation can take years. However, mass tort lawsuits happen because many, many people have been injured, and it is therefore crucial that all of the circumstances surrounding their injuries are fully investigated, and that all of the injured victims have a chance to be properly compensated for their injuries. At Morris James, we work efficiently with our clients to get them full and fair compensation in their mass tort claim.

How much compensation can I get from a mass tort claim?

The amount of compensation that you receive in a mass tort claim will depend on your particular injuries and losses, and the strength of your case. It will also depend on the outcome of bellwether trials. If the plaintiff in a bellwether trial is awarded a higher amount of compensation, that should help to increase your compensation. 

You should be compensated for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and benefits, future lost income, physical and emotional trauma (pain and suffering,) and other damages related to the defendants’ negligent conduct. Less frequently, a court will also order punitive damages to punish egregious conduct by a defendant.

How much does a mass tort lawyer cost?

Every law firm has their own fee policies and you should ask about these before hiring a lawyer. At Morris James, we will take your mass tort claim on a contingency fee basis, which means that you only pay us fees if we win. We will be happy to explain our fees to you as part of our free consultation about your case. Contact us if you would like to schedule your free consultation.

Why do I need a lawyer for a mass tort claim?

Mass tort claims are administratively and legally complex. They often involve thousands of plaintiffs and many defendants. A plaintiff needs a lawyer to investigate their case, identify the potential defendants (including the multiple layers of corporate entities), bring in experts to analyze and evaluate the claim, file a claim that meets the legal burdens and deadlines, and handle the case throughout all of the proceedings and negotiations. Defendant companies will have their own teams of lawyers, as well as their insurance companies and their lawyers. An experienced mass torts lawyer is not intimidated by this and knows the strategies needed to get their client the compensation they deserve.

Why should I choose Morris James to represent me in my mass tort claim?

The mass tort attorneys at Morris James are dedicated and skilled litigators who have years of experience handling a broad spectrum of personal injury and product liability litigation. You need a lawyer that you can rely on to guide you through the legal and practical challenges of a mass tort lawsuit, and to get you the result you need at the other end. The lawyers at Morris James have helped numerous clients to get a settlement or compensation after their injuries, and can help you too.

Our mass tort team also includes attorneys who previously worked on the defense side of negligence and injury claims, and now use that experience to help their plaintiff clients overcome the resources and strategies of culpable defendants and win. We are driven by the need of our clients for answers, justice, and financial security to move on with their lives.

At Morris James, our attorneys have been standing up for victims for over three decades. If you have other questions about mass tort lawsuits, contact us online or call us at 302.655.2599 to learn more.


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