Defective products, train accidents, aviation accidents, toxic exposure, dangerous drugs, or a bridge collapse can cause harm and losses to multiple people and across regions. Every individual who has suffered personal injury or economic losses due to the parties involved in such accidents is entitled to compensation for their losses. In instances where a large group of people is affected by the negligence of the same entity, mass tort cases offer the option to take their case to a single court. The types of damages included in a mass tort case include past and future medical expenses like hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, loss of wages, reduced earning capacity, emotional and psychological distress, and disfigurement.
Although it is easy to get them confused, a mass tort case and a class action lawsuit are vastly different. A class action lawsuit is a single case, while a mass tort case requires each individual to file their claims separately. In a class action lawsuit, a single award of damages is divided equally among the parties involved. Therefore, regardless of the different damages and circumstances of the different individuals, the compensation received would be the same for everyone involved.
While claimants in a mass tort case file their cases separately, they can choose a single firm or attorney to represent them. The courts would consolidate these cases for the initial part of the proceedings. The elements of the case that are common in all the cases will be reviewed together. This helps organize the collection and distribution of evidence regarding the case. Factors that are unique from case to case, such as the type or severity of the injury, would be considered separately. At times issues of liability are also addressed in this stage. After these initial steps are completed, each claimant will have an opportunity to have their case tried against the defendant individually.
In mass tort claims, it is common for the severity of losses and injuries to vary widely among individuals. For example, in a toxic exposure case, individuals may suffer different levels of injury depending on their proximity to the toxic substance(s). Besides physical injuries, the level of mental strain is also likely to vary.
Mass tort cases are appropriate for plaintiffs who have suffered different injuries because of the same at-fault party, as it provides the means to combine legal claims but gets each plaintiff the proper compensation. Getting together with other victims of the same party helps make the court proceedings more efficient by reducing the number of cases. As one of them, you can benefit from the combined efforts and streamlining of evidence and documentation. In cases where a mass tort claim is successful, each plaintiff is offered a settlement offer and can choose to pursue more confirmation.
Due to the complexities resulting from different claims, mass tort cases tend to be highly complex. Moreover, Florida laws require the court to approve the action before individuals can collectively initiate mass tort proceedings. The court will take into account various factors, such as the proximity of the claimants to each other, damages sustained, and how many individuals are joining the case.
Recent changes in Florida laws have reduced the statute of limitations in mass tort cases from four years to two years. This means the time you have to file a claim is reduced to half. The individual cases need to be managed efficiently for the people involved to get a chance to present their case before a court. Due to the shortened statute of limitations, efficiency and organization are key for ensuring an optimal outcome in a mass tort case.
To determine the feasibility of initiating a mass tort lawsuit, you will need the help of an attorney who has ample experience working with them. The firm or lawyer representing you for a mass tort case will have a lot on their hands with multiple individuals and records regarding injuries and damages that need to be gathered, analyzed, and stored for each member of the plaintiff group. You need someone who can review your damages and counsel you on the appropriate steps to take.
If you believe you qualify for a mass tort and wish to consult a lawyer to discuss your injuries and losses, Injury Assistance Network will be invaluable in setting your claim in motion. An experienced and attentive representative will thoroughly review your situation and go through all your queries with you. After determining your needs, we will advise you on the next step. If you need to be connected with an attorney, we can also help you choose from the many excellent lawyers vouched for by IAN.
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