Mass Tort lawsuits and class-action lawsuits might sound similar, but they do have some major differences. The most important difference relates to how claims are treated by the court and what happens with the outcome of the cases — specifically, how you can win money to make up for your damages and injuries. Additionally, the differences lie in how the cases are treated: collectively (class action) or individually (mass tort).
In a mass tort lawsuit, each individual victim, or plaintiff’s, case is considered separately. So, although you and many other victims have sued the same wrongful person, company or corporation, and your claims are being heard by the same judge, if the case is won you will receive a specific amount of money that addresses your specific injuries. These injuries may be different from the other plaintiffs’ injuries, and this is why the claims are evaluated separately.
This means, depending on your injuries, you may receive thousands, sometimes even millions, of dollars more than other plaintiffs if your injuries are considered more severe.
In a class-action lawsuit, the process is different than a mass tort. In a class action, the courts do not consider each individual plaintiff’s case. Instead, the courts specifically address class representatives whose names are on the case, but the class representative is speaking for hundreds, sometimes thousands of victims: the class members.
If the case is won, the class representative might receive a specific sum. But, most of the money the defendant must pay in damages will be split evenly between all class members.
However, even if the settlement sum is millions, even billions of dollars, if there are many victims — for instance, 100,000 class members — the amount of money each class member receives may end up being small.
Although mass torts may seem like the best way to earn the most money in damages for the wrongdoing that has been done to you, class-action lawsuits also have some very important benefits. In some cases, class-action lawsuits are the best way to win the justice and compensation you deserve.
Which one – a class action or a mass tort – may be a better way to take your claim to the court? The next section will help you learn if a mass tort or class action is better for you. Click to the next slide in order to learn more about the differences between these two types of lawsuits.