Mass Tort Claims vs. Class Action Lawsuits

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Many people tend to confuse mass tort claims with class action lawsuits. While the two are similar, there are several distinct differences. Below, we explain what each type of claim entails and when each is most appropriate.

Mass Tort vs. Class Action

A mass tort claim is a grouping of individual personal injury claims filed against the same party. One attorney or a group of attorneys may represent the claim. The attorneys are permitted to share their findings and investigations about the defendant with each other.

These types of claims may be filed against a pharmaceutical company for a dangerous drug, for example. When numerous people have suffered varying degrees of damages due to the same product or negligent actions of a business, a mass tort claim may be practicable.

A class action lawsuit is similar to a mass tort claim in that one company has wronged a group of people. However, with these lawsuits, there aren’t really any individual suits. Rather, there is usually only one attorney filing one suit on behalf of all the people who’ve suffered similar damages as a result of the defendant’s actions.

Upon a class action settlement, the award is divvied up among the claimants, and the attorneys generally receive a large share.

The Downside of Class Action Lawsuits

Class action claims are usually filed for situations like:

  • A company lying about its finances
  • Deluding people into poor investments
  • Illegal billing practices

Personal injury cases usually aren’t well-suited for class action claims. Personal injuries can vary widely, making settlement distribution among the injured parties difficult. When there is a group of individuals who experienced similar harm due to a company or product, mass tort claims usually are more feasible.

Furthermore, plaintiffs usually only receive a pittance for class action claims. It’s not really a viable way to obtain compensation if a real loss occurred. For instance, a couple of years ago, Verizon Wireless was busted for illegally charging customers for data sessions. They settled for $90 million. When dispersed to 15 million customers, each one received $2 to $6.

Deciding What Type of Claim to File

If you have suffered a loss due to a company’s actions or negligence, it’s important to contact an attorney in your area to determine the best legal route to take. There are pros and cons of each type of claim, so talk it over with a professional before moving forward with any type of legal action.

Our injury firm handles not only personal injury claims, but also mass tort claims. Feel free to contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Call Hensley Legal Group today to get started at (317) 472-3333.