There is no set or “typical” timeline for a mass tort claim, such as one filed against a pharmaceutical drug company for manufacturing a dangerous drug. The claims process may resolve quickly while other cases may require several years of investigation, interviewing expert witnesses, negotiation and litigation. Your personal injury attorney can offer a more personalized estimation of what to expect.
Factors that Impact a Mass Tort Claim’s Timeline
A mass tort claim typically is far more complex than the standard personal injury action. This is because a mass tort claim involves multiple plaintiffs against one or more defendant companies.
Some of the factors that may impact the timeline for a mass tort claim include:
- Locating and deposing expert witnesses (lawyers may seek multiple expert witnesses, such as physicians, scientists, economists, marketers, drug company researchers/developers and more depending on the case)
- The need for travel (such as when required to locate and depose witnesses, or conduct other case investigations)
- Investigation and collection of evidence (a mass tort claim requires substantial evidence, such as medical records, company documentation and more, which can take months to locate, collect, organize and analyze)
The factors mentioned above address only the initial stages of building a claim and do not include such steps as:
- Filing initial papers (including the complaint, answer and all other necessary documents)
- Additional investigations and fact-finding
- Discovery (when the plaintiff and the defendant are required to share facts and documents that are pertinent to the case)
- Settlement negotiations
- Trial (including jury selection, opening arguments, witness testimony, presentation of evidence, closing arguments, verdict)
- Collection of settlement or award
A claim that settles typically will resolve much quicker than a case that proceeds to trial.
The Timeline: Other Considerations
For many plaintiffs, there will appear to be lulls in action. Such “downtime” may last weeks or even months with seemingly little movement in the case. However, there may be significant “behind-the-scenes” action, such as a motion to dismiss a witness or piece of evidence. All these actions are crucial in the course of a mass tort claim.
Be wary of any law firm or attorney who promises you a speedy trial and settlement. While a lawyer can offer a more personalized timeline for your claim, based on the facts of the case, no one can guarantee a specific end date – this is true up until the final settlement has been awarded.
Things You Can Do to Help a Case Proceed Efficiently
There are several steps you can take to help your mass tort claim proceed in an efficient manner:
- File your claim within Indiana’s statute of limitations (Indiana Code 34-20-3 provides two to 10 years in which to take action)
- Disclose all information to your lawyer at the outset of the case
- Establish an agreed-upon communication schedule with your lawyer
- Follow your lawyer’s advice
Ready to take action against a negligent prescription drug company? Get started today by scheduling a free case consultation with our law firm. Call (317) 472-3333 today.