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What’s the Difference Between a Mass Tort and a Class Action Lawsuit?

You have probably heard of class action lawsuits, but you might be less familiar with mass torts. Mass torts are civil actions that have various plaintiffs involved against one or many defendant businesses or corporations. Mass torts are the umbrella lawsuit term, and class action lawsuits are a type of mass tort. Class action lawsuits are a type of legal action where a lawsuit is filed on behalf of a large group of people who share the same set of injuries or damages. The difference between these two terms is subtle, so it’s important to know what makes them unique, in case you find yourself in a relevant circumstance.

What’s the Difference?

Both of these proceedings, first of all, are designed to decrease the number of court cases that can occur when many people are harmed for the same reason or by the same issue. However, mass torts and class action lawsuits are handled pretty differently. The main difference between the two involves how the group of plaintiffs is treated during the lawsuit procedure. Mass torts involve injuries that produce somewhat varied damages, such as defective drugs or defective products cases. In these cases, it makes more sense to treat each plaintiff as an individual. This means that each individual’s testimonials and case facts are analyzed and defended for that particular plaintiff. Class action lawsuits, on the other hand, treat their plaintiffs as one collective group known as the class, and they are all represented by one class representative. This means that all individuals in the class are treated as one plaintiff.

How Do I Know Which One Is Required for a Certain Case?

Usually, class action lawsuits are favored in a large plaintiff group scenario, because they are easier to organize and gather information. However, if there are too many plaintiffs with individual and unique damages or circumstances (in other words, if there are too many outliers), then a mass tort litigation will probably make more sense. The lawyers at Anderson & Riddle, LLP have dealt with both mass torts and class action lawsuits. Contact an attorney today to receive more information on how you can get involved in one of these mass lawsuits.