When action by a single entity produces many plaintiffs, such as in cases of groundwater contamination, defective products, or dangerous drugs, the individual cases may be filed as a mass tort action.
The burden of proof in a mass tort lawsuit falls on the plaintiff, meaning that a plaintiff must show wrongdoing on the defendant’s part. With independent litigation, the entire expense of building a case falls on the merits of one case. With mass tort actions, the sharing of resources and evidence can decrease the final cost to plaintiffs.
Cory Watson Attorneys is a Memphis mass tort lawyer with experience handling mass tort litigation.
How does a Mass Tort Settlement Work?
When a group of people have been injured and file individual claims against a single defendant, usually a corporation, their lawsuits can be worked as a group. Each case is still separate, but the evidence and facts can cross between the claims. By working a mass tort case in this way, the process can be quicker and also relieve some burden on a stressed court system.
Each claim may differ slightly in the type of damages, and each is separate for settlement purposes. Each case will have a respective settlement offer based on individual damages in the settlement process.
If all the parties in the mass tort do not agree to settle, each case will proceed through the trial phase individually. Since each may have a different settlement amount, the process of individual trials can be quite lengthy.
For a free legal consultation with a mass tort lawyer serving Memphis, call 877-562-0000
Is Mass Tort Different Than Class Action?
Yes, a mass tort is different than a class action. All plaintiffs are treated as one group or a single plaintiff in class action cases. Any settlement amount is divided equally among all plaintiffs, regardless of their degree of damage.
In a mass tort case, the claims are grouped but maintain individuality for compensation purposes. Damages can be awarded based on the factors of each claim. The court treats each case separately.
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How Much Is My Case Worth?
We cannot offer a flat estimate on the value of your claim because there are too many variables in play. There are no mathematical formulas that will give us the result.
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What Do I Need to Know About the Process?
The process for a mass tort is very similar to a standard personal injury claim. The law firm begins by collecting and organing evidence to evaluate the merits of your case. Suppose they feel that they can fight on your behalf and be successful. In that case, they will add your information to any ongoing cases they are also handling against the same defendant with the same or similar circumstances.
By confirming case similarities, a Memphis mass tort lawyer can build a case that proves the responsibility for damages or injury lies with the defendant. Once the basis for compensation is firmly established, multidistrict litigation (MDL) is filed in federal court.
A small set of claims will be selected for bellwether trials. This sampling will test to see how the arguments will stand up in a regular court. They provide a starting point from which a Memphis mass tort attorney can begin discussions about a possible out-of-court settlement.
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What Is a Bellwether Trial?
Bellwether trials are a way to test the merits of a case without the full-blown trial process. A few claims will go through the bellwether trial process in mass tort cases. During the sample trials, attorneys will present evidence and information as they would for a formal trial proceeding.
By sending a small subset of claims through the bellwether process, attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant can gauge the strength of their arguments. If there are many plaintiffs, more than one set of bellwether trials may occur.
Why Are Bellwether Trials Important?
Bellwether trials serve a critical role in the mass tort process. They allow lawyers the opportunity to organize and fine-tune their cases, can set a precedent for moving forward and can accelerate the settlement process.
Bellwether trials allow all concerned parties to see how this case may work out in a traditional court setting. If a defendant sees a weak standing, they may be more willing to offer fair settlement proposals. For plaintiffs, these sample trials can emphasize areas of the case that are weak and need additional supporting evidence.
Is the Verdict in a Bellwether Trial Real?
Yes, the verdict in a bellwether is real, but only for the individual case presented during the process. The results of a bellwether trial are not an indicator of similar results in future trials. However, suppose a plaintiff in a bellwether trial is awarded a high dollar figure. In that case, that does serve as a final verdict for that case.
Will This Drag on for Years?
A mass tort claim may take longer than a conventional lawsuit. Because the process can require extensive evidence gathering, coordination of efforts, and compiling a lot of data, it could indeed involve years of waiting. Combine that with an uncooperative defendant unwilling to discuss possible settlement or provide requested information, and it could extend the wait.
What Will Your Law Firm Do for Me?
When the lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys agree to represent you in a mass tort claim, our work begins immediately. We will start gathering the necessary evidence we will need to support your case. Some of our tasks will include obtaining:
- Medical records about your case
- Testimony from witnesses
- Evidence from other claimants against the same defendant
- News and other reports about the claim
- Statements from all plaintiffs
- Depositions from expert witnesses
In addition to obtaining documentation, we will also evaluate evidence from various sources and verify all evidence. We may also travel to multiple locations to gather evidence and witness statements.
Once we have collected and compiled a sufficient amount of evidence to support your claim, we will select a small subset of cases for bellwether trials. If the bellwether trials are favorable, we can begin settlement discussions with the defendant.
In cases where the defendant is unwilling to enter settlement talks, we will continue working toward pursuing your claim in court.
Is the Consultation Free?
Yes, the consultation is free for a Memphis mass tort claim. If we agree to work with you on your claim, you won’t owe us anything unless we win a settlement in your favor. We will fight for your compensation in exchange for a percentage of any final settlement or court award that we win on your behalf.
With Cory Watson Attorneys, we take all the risks while you work on overcoming the issues that brought you to us.
Call or text 877-562-0000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form