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The difference between a class action suit and a mass tort case

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2023 | Car Accident Injuries |

In some personal injury scenarios, numerous people will have suffered essentially the same injury. Each individual’s harm may not be identical, but it has the same root cause. Each then wants to sue the person or a company that they believe is responsible for those injuries.

An example could be if a chainsaw has a faulty guard that tends to slip out of place when the saw is pointed downward. People end up suffering serious cuts and lacerations when using the saw in what they believed was the proper manner. It appears to have a design defect leading to these injuries. Many people who have been hurt due to this defective guard wants to sue the company that makes the chainsaw to cover things like their medical bills and lost wages.

There are two different ways to do accomplish this aim, which are to file a class action lawsuit or to pursue a mass tort claim. Both approaches address harm-related requests for compensation on behalf of multiple individuals. However, there are also differences between these approaches.

More control with a mass tort

Essentially, you have a bit more control over how things play out if you use a mass tort approach. This is because each individual who is named in a mass tort is still going to be treated as an independent part of that case. It’s a bit different than a class action, where all the victims are put into a single pool and a decision is made that applies to all of them.

What this means is that mass torts often involve particularly serious injuries. Many class action lawsuits are filed because people have very minor injuries and it would not be worth the time or expense to litigate those cases on their own. But people work together so that the total value of the case is much higher than it would be otherwise and they can pool their resources to seek justice. In a mass tort scenario, people still retain their individual status and tend to have more serious injuries that warrant compensation determined on the unique value of each individual’s harm. But they can still work together because they are litigating cases against the same defendant(s) and that originated due to similar circumstances.

If you have been injured, you can see why it’s important to understand all the legal options you have at your disposal. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start exploring how best to seek justice and compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.