What is a mass tort?
When negligence causes an injury, the injured party may decide to sue. If many people are injured similarly, this is a mass tort. A mass tort is a wrongful action affecting numerous people. Processing hundreds or thousands of individual lawsuits against the same party is time-consuming and often inefficient. Mass tort cases allow the court to streamline the process by combining plaintiffs who were harmed similarly.
Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is often used to handle mass tort claims. MDL involves consolidating similar cases to the same federal court under one judge. MDLs will also include bellwether trials, also known as test cases. These trials give the plaintiffs and defendants an idea of how a jury might perceive the evidence and guide settlement discussions.
Mass torts often fall into three categories: defective or dangerous products, defective medical devices or drugs, or toxic exposure. Even if a company or manufacturer wasn’t aware that their product was dangerous, they can still be held liable if a plaintiff can prove that they should’ve known of the risk.