How Is the Settlement Divided in Mass Tort Cases

The settlement in mass tort cases is not “divided” per se. Unlike in a class action, where plaintiffs must split a single settlement from the liable party, mass tort cases give each plaintiff’s attorney the freedom to seek and negotiate for their own individual settlement.

Mass Torts Versus Class Actions

Class actions and mass torts may seem similar, but they are not the same. In a class action lawsuit, you would:

  • Have your case combined with other similar cases into a single lawsuit
  • Share in whatever compensation the liable party offers and/or the jury awards you
  • Reduce your legal expenses while being able to share evidence with the other plaintiffs

In a mass tort, on the other hand, you would:

  • Have your case considered at the same time and by the same judge as other similar cases but all of your lawsuits remain separate
  • Have your lawyer negotiate for your own settlement that reflects how the liable party’s actions have affected you
  • Reduce your legal expenses while being able to share evidence with the other plaintiffs

In short, while both kinds of cases offer the benefits of saving you money while providing greater access to important evidence, class actions do not allow your case to remain strictly your own.

Why Join a Mass Tort?

If a case becomes a mass tort, that means many individuals are seeking compensation from the same liable party for the same or similar personal injuries. In most situations, this means the liable party is an organization that:

  • Is very large and powerful
  • Knows how to deal with lawsuits because they have been sued before
  • Has access to a legal team whose only goal is to protect them from lawsuits
  • Has the resources to drag out legal proceedings until the plaintiffs run out of money and give up

The odds of an individual triumphing over a large organization can be poor. This is why joining a mass tort offers a lifeline for many. The opportunity to consolidate your case with many others gives the plaintiffs more strength than they would have alone.

Which Legal Action Is Right for Me?

Whether you join a class action, a mass tort, or another type of case is up to you and your personal injury lawsuit lawyer to decide. Depending on your circumstances, one option may offer much greater benefits than the others.

What Can I Get in a Mass Tort Settlement?

The settlement is not evenly divided in mass tort cases, so you can rely on an attorney to:

  • Determine how much your case is worth
  • Identify the best way of pursuing that money
  • Fight hard for every dollar you deserve

In general, you can pursue compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial consequences you have suffered. Common examples of damages sought in mass tort cases include:

  • Pain and suffering, or the physical and mental distress associated with your injury or illness
  • Disability, or the ways in which your injuries prevent you from using certain parts of your body
  • Reduced quality of life, or the ways in which your injury keeps you from participating in certain activities or taking care of yourself and your family
  • Medical expenses, or the cost of treating your injury
  • Loss of wages, or the money you lost as you were recuperating or receiving treatment for your injuries
  • Loss of earning capacity, or the money you expect to lose in the future due to disabling injuries

You may also receive a mass tort settlement for wrongful death damages if you decide to sue on behalf of a deceased loved one.

How to Negotiate a Mass Tort Settlement

As previously stated, mass torts require each plaintiff’s attorney to either negotiate for a settlement on the plaintiff’s behalf or, if they are dissatisfied with the terms of the settlement agreement, continue fighting the case.

If the liable party offers a settlement, your lawyer can act quickly to:

  • Set up a meeting with the liable party’s representatives
  • Represent you at the meeting (whether you personally attend is up to you and your lawyer, but your presence is not required if you have hired a lawyer)
  • Show all of the evidence they have gathered to prove that you deserve a certain amount of compensation
  • Fight back if the liable party tries to minimize your injuries or the amount they offer to pay you
  • End negotiations if they are not successful and continue fighting your case in other ways

What Types of Cases Become Mass Torts?

A case may become a mass tort if:

  • Many people claim to have been harmed by the same liable party.
  • Many people suffered the same types of injuries because of the same liable party’s negligence.
  • A judge decides that multiple cases are similar enough (and strong enough) to consolidate into a single legal action. 

Many types of cases have the potential to become a mass tort, including cases that involve:

  • Dangerous drugs and medical devices: Bad drugs get into consumers’ hands far more often than they should. These faulty drugs and devices can cause serious illnesses and even cause physical injuries.
  • Product liability: Any product can cause harm if it is not built, designed, or marketed properly. This includes earplugs, firefighting foam, toys, car parts, and so on.
  • Environmental contamination: One prominent example is the Camp Lejeune case, in which plaintiffs allege the government knowingly exposed Marines and their families to toxic drinking water. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 gives these Marines a chance to recover compensation.
  • Premises liability: If many people are injured at the same place—say, if the roof of a public venue collapses—those people may band together to sue the property owner for not taking adequate measures to protect them.

Seeking a Settlement Through a Mass Tort

Mass tort cases offer individual plaintiffs a unique opportunity for pursuing compensation against a larger, more powerful defendant. Fill out our contact form today so we can connect you with a mass torts attorney in our network who handles such cases. They can tell you more about how settlements are divided, how you can recover compensation, and more.