Class Action vs. Mass Tort: Is There a Difference?

When a large number of people are harmed by the wrongful actions of an at-fault party, they can choose to file a mass tort lawsuit or a class action lawsuit to recover the compensation they deserve.

While mass torts and class actions are designed to achieve the same objective – to help a large group of people (who are wronged by the actions of a common defendant) get justice in an efficient and timely manner – they are not one and the same.

Differences Between Class Action and Mass Tort Cases

The biggest difference between a mass tort claim and a class action lawsuit is that the former is a collection of individual claims while the latter is a single lawsuit which is filed on behalf of a large number of plaintiffs.

In a mass tort, the plaintiffs are treated as individuals. Each plaintiff is represented by their own mass tort lawyer. In a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs are categorized as a single group or class and a lawsuit is filed on behalf of all of them. The plaintiffs do not have their own lawyers, but are instead represented collectively by a class representative.

Due to the fact they are treated as individuals, each plaintiff in a mass tort claim is required to prove that they were harmed as a result of the defendant’s actions and prove the extent of the injuries they suffered. This is not the case with a class action lawsuit, as the plaintiffs are treated as a single entity and are not required to prove the extent of their injuries on an individual basis.

One of the most notable differences between a mass tort claim and a class action lawsuit is the way in which the plaintiffs are compensated. In a mass tort, each plaintiff is awarded an appropriate amount of compensation depending on the extent of the losses they incurred.

For instance, in a mass tort claim against a pharmaceutical company, a plaintiff who experienced serious side effects and have developed long-term health problems might be entitled to receive more compensation than someone who experienced side effects but did not develop any long-term ailments.

In a class action lawsuit, on the contrary, the plaintiffs are not compensated individually. Instead, the settlement amount or the damages awarded by the jury is shared among the plaintiffs equally. In some cases, the plaintiffs in a class action suit might be divided into different tiers – depending on the extent of injuries they suffered and the amount of damages they seek. Even in such cases, the plaintiffs in each tier usually receive the same amount of compensation.

Need a Seasoned Mass Tort or Class Action Lawyer to Represent You? Call Trial Power Today!

If you have been injured as a result of a defective product or any wrongful action that might give rise to a mass tort or class action lawsuit, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Trial Power can represent and help you get the settlement you deserve.

Founded by Dana Kirk and Denman Heard – two of the brightest legal minds with decades of experience in civil litigation – Trial Power has the expertise and resources to handle large-scale mass tort and class action cases. 

Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our mass tort lawyers.

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