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Frequently Asked Questions About Mass Tort Claims

Every year, there are a number of products that cause injury to multiple people in Lexington, Kentucky and throughout the nation. When people are harmed by an unsafe product, they may choose to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor of the harmful product. When a product harms many people and attracts numerous lawsuits involving similar claims, this is known as a mass tort. The following are some frequently asked questions about mass tort cases.

What Exactly Is a Mass Tort Lawsuit?

The Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School defines a tort as, “an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong…” When a wrong is committed as a result of carelessness or negligence, the victim may hold the negligent party liable and seek compensation for losses.

A mass tort causes injury to many people. A mass tort lawsuit is a civil action in which numerous individuals file lawsuits against one or more parties (typically a corporation). Each person who is injured alleges essentially similar causes of harm: that the defendant committed an act of negligence, and that the negligence caused the plaintiff’s damages. Both the damages suffered and the negligent action(s) leading to damage are similar.

What Types of Mass Torts Are Most Common?

The most common types of mass tort lawsuits are product liability actions, which assert that a product was either defectively designed or manufactured, and thereby caused damages to the consumers. Lawsuits against the asbestos industry, which claim that asbestos companies failed to warn of the potential harm of exposure to asbestos, are an example of a mass tort claim. A mass tort claim may also be against the manufacturer of:

  • A pharmaceutical drug;
  • A medical device;
  • A motor vehicle manufacturer; and
  • Other consumer products.

I Am Taking a Prescription Drug That Has Serious Side Effects – Can I Join a Mass Tort Action?

There are a number of defective and dangerous drugs on the market that cause serious adverse health events. Individuals who have taken these drugs and have suffered serious side effects as a result may be able to seek compensation. If a number of people have experienced similar harm as a result of taking the prescription medication and filed lawsuits, the lawsuits may be consolidated to handle the claims more efficiently as a mass tort action.

There are instances where joining a mass tort against a pharmaceutical company is appropriate. Consider the lawsuits against Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft, which have been filed by multiple plaintiffs who claim that taking the drug led to birth defects, a side effect that Pfizer did not properly warn of.

I Had an Artificial Hip Implant that Failed and Now Need Replacement Surgery – Do I Have a Mass Tort Claim?

The answer to this question is similar to the answer above. If there was a defect in the design or manufacture of the hip implant, and if other patients suffered similar damages to yours based on the defect, then pursuing legal action may be appropriate.

How Do I Join a Mass Tort Lawsuit?

If you believe that you may have a mass tort, the best thing that you can do is to speak with a lawyer who is experienced at handling mass tort litigation. If a mass tort action has not already been filed, you may need to file a lawsuit with the help of your mass tort attorney. If a mass tort lawsuit is already underway, you may need to opt into the mass tort. Your attorney can explain how to do this in more detail.

Does Everyone in a Mass Tort Claim Receive the Same Amount of Money if the Claim Is Settled?

No.  The damages that you receive at the completion of a mass tort lawsuit would be specific to your damages suffered. While all plaintiffs may receive a similar amount of money, if you have suffered more severe damages or losses, you have a right to receive a compensation amount that reflects this.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Represent Me During a Mass Tort Lawsuit?

Mass tort litigation is much more complicated than is a traditional tort/personal injury lawsuit. Filing a mass tort lawsuit on your own is not recommended. Because of the number of plaintiffs involved and the fact that damages may differ slightly on a case by case basis, it is imperative that you work with an attorney who understands your case on a personal level and will advocate for you throughout the process. In many cases, multiple attorneys will pool resources and collaborate to maximize compensation for the plaintiffs they represent.

Contact Frank Jenkins Law Office Today

If you have questions about whether your injury entitles you to pursue mass tort litigation in Kentucky, the experienced mass tort lawyers at Frank Jenkins Law Office can provide guidance. From answering your questions to representing you throughout the entire litigation process, our legal team is ready to do whatever it takes to help you recover the compensation that you deserve. If you are ready to schedule a free case consultation and start the process of recovering damages for the harm that you have suffered due to a company’s negligence, call our offices now or use our online form to tell us more about your case. Our aggressive mass tort lawyers will work hard on your behalf, and will always put your needs first!