What is the Difference between Mass Torts Case and a Class Action Lawsuit?

Published on April 24, 2015 by

Most people have probably heard of class action lawsuits, and lots of us may have even been asked to join one or received a letter telling us that we qualify to receive money (usually a tiny, tiny amount) if we sign off on the included form. Because class action lawsuits have touched so many of our lives, we might even think that we understand them – they’re when a large group of people who were harmed by an improper practice band together into a single case so that one person winning means that they all win.

That’s mostly true, but what you likely don’t know is that class action lawsuits are actually just one type of mass torts case. What are mass torts cases? Well, that’s when lots of people have been harmed by an improper practice and they all band together. It may sound a lot like a civil action suit, but there are a number of differences.

Differences between Mass Torts Cases and Class Action Suits

Before you decide whether you want to join a class action lawsuit or become part of a mass torts case, you need to understand what they entail and what you’re getting into.

Civil action suits

  • Individual court cases are all folded into one big, overall case
  • The winnings are divided equally amongst all participants
  • Only occur when a large number of people are experiencing the same injuries, damages, and circumstances (i.e. you were charged late fees at Blockbuster and courts have ruled that this is unjust)
  • Have to notify everyone involved in the “class” and give them the option of turning down the suit and getting their own counsel
  • Most often successful in bringing about a change in corporate policies

Mass torts cases

  • Cases remain individual, but can all be overseen by the same group of lawyers
  • Lawyers on individual cases in a mass tort may all share information
  • Individual cases may involve different settlement amounts, each of which go to those specific plaintiffs
  • Most often used in injury cases involving defective products or drugs.
  • Plaintiffs may be experiencing different damages, injuries, or circumstances

Generally speaking, no one who seeks out a personal injury attorney because they’ve suffered an injury and wants to be compensated is looking to file a civil action – even if they know others who’ve had similar problems. Instead, you want to find a mass torts case and see if you can join it by filing your own lawsuit with the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney and adding it to what’s already there.

Learn more by reading our free e-books regarding mass torts. If you have any questions regarding your own experience call our experienced attorneys today at (855)-423-3666 for a free case evaluation.