The primary difference between a class action and mass tort lawsuit is each plaintiff’s level of control over their case.
When many people are harmed in a similar way by the same company’s negligence, it’s often easier for the court and the plaintiffs to combine their cases under one judge and one courtroom. You may have heard of the phrase class action lawsuit, which is one method to combine these cases. Another such method is a mass tort action, which is similar but distinct from a class action.
Class action lawsuits are typically larger than mass torts, and include more—sometimes many more—plaintiffs. In a class action, the group (or class) of plaintiffs is treated as one entity whose interests are represented by a few plaintiffs. The resulting judgement is then split between all of the members of the class, regardless of their personal damages.
Mass tort lawsuits—such as mass defective drug or toxic substance torts—are similar to traditional personal injury claims, except plaintiffs can share witnesses and evidence in the proceedings. Each case is still judged separately, meaning that claimants are more likely to receive fair compensation for their injuries.
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