Mass Tort Law: 4 Common Causes of Mass Tort Lawsuits

A tort is a civil wrong committed by one party that causes another party to be injured. With mass tort lawsuits, a single tort is committed against a large group of people, who consequently sue the alleged perpetrator as a group. The cases are merged into a single action and heard by one judge, which allows the plaintiffs to pool their resources and present evidence together.

Mass tort lawsuits are similar to class action lawsuits in the following ways:

  • A large group of plaintiffs have allegedly experienced harm
  • That harm was allegedly caused by the same defendants
  • The action is consolidated into one lawsuit

The primary differences between the two are that mass tort actions do not have to be legally certified like classes in a class action lawsuit and the plaintiffs are treated as individuals even though they are part of a group.

Mass tort lawsuits generally fall into one of many different cause-designated categories. Below are four of the biggest and most common causes that have inspired action.

Defective Medical Device Torts

When a medical device is discovered to be defective in a way that causes injury or harm, a mass tort lawsuit can and does result, with all injured parties having the option to participate. Major cases seen in recent years include defective hip replacements and transvaginal mesh.

Defective Product Torts

This type of mass tort addresses any situation where multiple consumers bought a defective product that caused an injury. Common examples include defective airbags (e.g. the Takata products) or children’s toys that fall apart easily and present a choking hazard. Defective product torts cover one of the widest ranges of potential situations and lawsuits.

Pharmaceutical Torts

Pharmaceutical companies have been known to distribute medications that cause unintended but highly dangerous side effects. When a particular drug injures and even kills several people who ingested it, a mass pharmaceutical tort lawsuit may result.

Toxic Torts

Toxic tort lawsuits result when groups of people are exposed to dangerous toxins or chemicals. Common examples include exposure to asbestos or mold, illness caused by lead paint chips, soil or groundwater contamination by chemical waste, and air contamination by dangerous gases.

When a group of plaintiffs wants to sue a common defendant en masse, their attorney will request permission to file a mass tort action. When determining whether to approve the request, the court will consider, among other things:

  • How many plaintiffs are involved
  • How close the plaintiffs are to one another geographically
  • Whether the injuries are similar
  • Whether the injuries have a common cause, like a single medication or product

If you believe you have been injured under circumstances that may justify a mass tort lawsuit, contact the Sharp Firm today for a free consultation. We will review your claim, help you determine whether other victims have been harmed in a similar manner, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.