Is Mass Tort The Same As A Class Action Lawsuit?

Is Mass Tort The Same As A Class Action Lawsuit?

Mass torts and class action lawsuits involve hundreds or thousands of people with the same or similar grievances, pulled together in one consolidated action or lawsuit. It is easy to confuse the two because both lawsuits involve multiple plaintiffs against one or a group of defendants, but they are not the same.

How Does Mass Tort Differ From A Class Action Lawsuit?

A tort is any harm, injury or damages an individual suffered from any action or inaction. Mass torts involve multiple individual tort claims or lawsuits suing the same entity, whereas a class action involves only one lawsuit against the same entity. The primary difference lies in the degree of control each injured party has on their case.

  • Class action lawsuit: Multiple plaintiffs come together as one class to file one single lawsuit against a defendant. The court assumes each plaintiff suffered equally and from the same cause. There is only one trial where the representative of their class unit appears on behalf of all the plaintiffs. If the plaintiffs win, the court distributes damages equally among the plaintiffs.
  • Mass tort lawsuit: Individuals sue for torts or damages caused by the same person or group. Each plaintiff files a separate lawsuit against the defendant. The court considers that each plaintiff has suffered differently and that some were affected more than others. Because all the individuals appear in court instead of a representative, there may be multiple trials. If the plaintiffs win, the court awards each one unequally but proportionately to the damages they incurred.

Class action lawsuits are more difficult because you would need to get a certification order. At the same time, each person involved relies heavily on one person or a small group to represent them.

Why File For A Mass Tort Lawsuit?

Because the court treats the plaintiffs as individuals, you can control the outcome of your case. It will give you an active position to fight for what you lost. You have the right to refuse settlement and you may receive more than you would in a class action lawsuit.