What is a Mass Tort Lawsuit
A Mass Tort lawsuit involves many plaintiffs with similar claims suing one or a few defendants in state or federal court. These lawsuits arise when a group of plaintiffs have broad, varying injuries caused by the same or similar acts of harm. This is often the case with defective drugs, harmful consumer products, and problematic medical devices.
These lawsuits typically have a life span of 3 – 10 years. The type of case, the courts that are involved in the case, and much more can impact the overall length of these lawsuits. These cases are very complex, take years of work, and require large investments. We will carry that burden for you.
What is the Difference between Mass Tort and Class Action Lawsuits
In mass tort and class action lawsuits, a group of plaintiffs alleges harm caused by a common defendant. The difference between mass torts and class actions however, is in the way the Plaintiff is treated in each type of lawsuit.
In a mass tort case, each person is treated as an individual. This means that each plaintiff must prove certain, relevant facts, including how each person was injured by the defendant. This is beneficial to those who have suffered more or various injuries.
In a class action you’re treated as a “class” and all plaintiffs are tried under one case. This one case is called a class representative.
Mass tort claims are typically consolidated into a multi-district litigation (“MDL”) for litigation discovery before trial, but each case is not tried in a group like you see in a real class action. Instead, the cases are consolidated for discovery purposes, which significantly streamlines the process and reduces litigation costs. Following this, the cases are tried individually.
While there are benefits to both types of lawsuits, from a legal perspective, mass tort cases offer more of a benefit by providing the opportunity to apply more pressure against a company with thousands of individualized cases instead of one class action lawsuit.
How to Join a Mass Tort
If you have been injured by a consumer product, medical device, drug or something else, simply contact Wright & Schulte and we will reach back out to you as soon as we can. Case evaluations are free and will take approximately 10 minutes.
Why Should You Inquire About a Potential Mass Tort Claim
Inquiring about your potential claim is as easy as 1, 2, 3! If you have been effected but the medication, product, or device, you can fill out a short form or call for more information and potential next steps. Once we have determined you meet the qualifications for a potential mass tort claim, Wright & Schulte does the hard work for you so that you can receive financial compensation.
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What is a Bellwether Trial
As mass tort cases are filed in court, our attorneys actively work up each case through the discovery phase of the litigation process to prepare for trial or a potential settlement. In mass tort claims, cases are consolidated into a multi-district litigation (“MDL”). These MDLs use a process known as a bellwether trial.
Bellwether trials are the first trials in a mass tort lawsuit. The cases initially selected for trial are thought to be representative of particular issues in other cases in the MDL. While the results in these bellwether trials are not binding on the remaining cases in the MDL, the results can be indicative of what the other cases may be worth.
Typically, bellwether cases are selected by both the Plaintiff attorneys and Defense attorneys. The court then makes the ultimate call on which cases will be tried and in which order those cases will proceed.
During the litigation process, the biggest contention amongst parties is the value of the claims. The bellwether trials serve as an indicator for who is likely to win the case and the amount of damages a jury might award. Essentially, these bellwether cases serve as a gauge or litmus test for how real juries will decide the remainder of the cases in the MDL. These bellwethers create a guideline for how much other cases in the MDL are worth.
Bellwether trials can drastically influence settlement discussions for cases remaining in the MDL. They have the ability to both streamline and simplify the process of recovering compensation for your injuries. Essentially, the bellwether process helps to reduce the amount of time a Plaintiff may spend in the legal system fighting for the compensation they deserve.
Following the bellwether process, the parties typically engage in settlement discussions and attempt to come to an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, then each case is individually tried in their home jurisdiction.
Payments from a Mass Tort Case
After a trial is concluded or a settlement has been reached, payouts will be dealt with on an individual basis. Generally, personal injury awards are tax free, but there are some instances where all or parts can be taxed. We highly recommend speaking to a Certified Personal Accountant if you have tax questions regarding any settlements.
Financial compensation will vary depending on the case and your injury(s). Wright & Schulte will do our very best to advocate for you and get the best possible payout.
Some attorneys bill at an hourly rate or will take a significant percentage amounting to more than half of your reward. At Wright & Schulte, we work on a contingency fee basis. Meaning, we do not get paid unless you do.