Hundreds of thousands of people can emerge with various injuries that they blame on the same product or a single incident. Historically, there have been mass torts for defective automobile ignition switches, medical devices, prescription drugs, asbestos, terrorist attacks, oil spills, train wrecks, and airplane crashes.
Companies have an obligation to make sure that anything they sell is effective and safe. But if you have been harmed by a product or injured in an accident, a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, Illinois, can represent you or your loved one. Mass torts combine the expertise of various professionals and represent the masses cost-effectively.
What are the Main Categories of Mass Tort Claims?
Mass tort claims are varied in nature, depending on the kind of exposure that led to the harm caused. If you have a claim, it will fall into one of these categories:
These are catastrophic events that damage many people’s properties or injuries to a lot of people. Examples include a hotel fire, a giant offshore oil spill, or an airplane crash. The defining characteristics of mass accidents are:
- Plaintiffs may be found in different parts of the country/world and in large numbers
- The injuries resulted from a distinct event at a specific time and place
It involves the spillage of a toxic substance that can cause illnesses in people over a certain period. The event should be geographically confined, for example, a poisonous substance leaking from a chemical plant into the local water table.
True Mass Torts
It involves the same drug or equipment that caused varied types of injuries to diverse persons spread across the country or the world. The company might be liable if it failed to:
- Continually test their products for safety
- Clearly explain the benefits and risk of the product to consumers and healthcare providers
- Conduct FDA-required testing like clinical trials
How will Other Victims Know About a Mass Tort Case?
Before the court permits a mass action, it must first determine whether it is a proper mass tort action. It considers the following:
- Whether the plaintiff’s claims have a common cause, i.e., a single disaster or product
- Whether the injuries are similar
- Whether the victims are located far or near each other
- Whether a large number of victims are involved
If the nature of the case fits the definition of a mass tort, the court will immediately assign the claim to a judge. Others who could have been harmed by the same event or product will be notified to join in the case. The appointed judge may order for newspaper publication of the lawsuit’s notice for the information to reach every possible claimant.
What are the Steps for a Mass Tort Claim?
The process of successfully filing a mass tort claim is technical but gives claimants the best outcomes for their case. Mass tort lawyers with knowledge and skill across the country put their scholar brains together to bring up a claim against the defendants’ company or manufacturer.
Review of Records
Involves analyzing medical records and claimant statements to identify the injuries and the drug or device that caused them.
Analyzing Injury Consistency
The injuries will be scrutinized to establish similarities and thereafter categorize them accordingly.
Federal Court Filing
To speed up information gathering and processing, individual cases might be consolidated.
Trials usually begin with smaller groups of lawsuits picked from larger groups of similar cases. And future cases will likely have similar outcomes.
It involves negotiations where the defendant party proposes an agreement to settle the claims, and the claimants decide whether to accept it or proceed to trial. A Chicago mass tort lawyer can advise you on whether a settlement is fair and standard.
Do Victims Wait Too Long Before a Mass Tort Claim is Settled?
Unlike a typical personal injury case, mass tort cases can take years to resolve because of the number of plaintiffs involved. However, note that dangerous drug and medical device cases are subject to the statute of limitation. The earlier you speak to a personal injury attorney in Chicago, the sooner you get the compensation.
Here is what you can recover:
- Mental and emotional damages
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and disability
- Lost work time relating to the injury
- Current and future medical bills
Once resolved, the compensation can be resolved into:
- Trials or individual settlements
- Group/organized settlements
Notably, group settlements factor in everyone’s individual claim. Each participant gets to hear the proposed terms of the group settlement and decide whether they want to be part of it.
What are the Advantages of Mass Tort Claims?
When many victims’ injuries have similarities, it is easier to file a mass tort claim – over thousands of individual cases. It makes it faster to get justice for thousands of people.
Here are the advantages:
- Cost-efficient because the advocate charges you the regular rates and still represent you at the national level
- Every claimant benefits from the evidence of the mass tort but can take their case to trial individually or work on a settlement on their own
- Participants pool their resources together for a favorable outcome
- An effective resolution that works for everyone individually
- The compensation for each person is usually high
Most victims may have let go of their dream of getting compensation since it’s costly to sue a big company. But with a mass tort, they get to benefit from economies of scale.
Legal Consultation with a Skilled Chicago Lawyer
Mass tort cases require a mastery and understanding of complex subject matters. It also needs an ability to work with many experts and witnesses, and a lot of time to review and process thousands of case-related documents. Only hire Chicago attorneys that have experience handling the complexity of mass torts for the best outcomes.
If you have suffered injuries that have degraded the quality of your life, you may have a claim. Take the initiative and speak to a mass tort attorney in Chicago who can get an accurate and fair assessment of your potential case; to determine if you have a tort claim.