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Advantages and Disadvantages of Mass Tort Lawsuits

By
Lia Kopin-Green
/
June 15, 2023
Last reviewed by
/
June 15, 2023

Are you or a loved one facing substantial damage or injury due to another party’s negligence or wrongful actions? Mass tort lawsuits could be the key to seeking justice. A mass tort refers to a civil action where a large number of individuals file a lawsuit due to harm or injury caused by a common product, action, or event. Mass tort cases typically arise when multiple consumers suffer harm from certain products, making it impractical to handle each case separately. 

Read on to learn more about mass torts and their main advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Mass Tort Lawsuits

  • Efficiency: Efficiency is one of the key advantages of mass tort lawsuits. When numerous similar cases are consolidated into a mass tort lawsuit, it eliminates the need for multiple individual trials, which can be time-consuming and costly. Instead, the court can address the related cases at one time, streamlining the legal process. This prevents duplicating efforts in examining common issues, evidence, and expert witnesses across multiple trials. Eliminating redundancy is a major pro for both the justice system and the parties involved in the lawsuit.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Due to the involvement of multiple plaintiffs, there are reduced costs for individual plaintiffs. Conducting numerous separate trials can be quite expensive due to the costs associated with court fees, legal representation, and expert witnesses. Consolidating cases allows for the opportunity to share these valuable resources. 
  • Strength in Numbers: When multiple victims band together against a single individual or entity, their collective voice is amplified. In other words, their unity enhances the chances of the case’s success. It demonstrates a widespread problem caused by the defendant that affects a number of individuals. The strength in number promotes enhanced credibility and legitimacy by establishing a powerful pattern of wrongdoing or negligence. This collective weight can affect the perception of the jury, the defendant, and the judges involved.
  • Increased Power in Settlement Negotiations: In class action suits, a group of plaintiffs is represented collectively by several named plaintiffs, and the ruling from these cases typically applies to all members of the class as a whole. Each plaintiff is treated as an individual case within the consolidated litigation in a mass tort lawsuit. This individualized approach allows plaintiffs to have more power in negotiating settlement terms that directly apply to their unique circumstances.

 

Disadvantages of Mass Tort Lawsuits

  • Uncertain Outcomes: Uncertain outcomes are a significant disadvantage associated with mass tort lawsuits. These cases tend to be complex and dynamic, which can lead to unpredictable results. 
  • Disproportionate Allocation of Settlement: Due to the fact that there are multiple plaintiffs involved in mass tort lawsuits, they tend to be complicated and highly detailed. Inexperienced mass tort attorneys may face challenges with effectively organizing and addressing these claims. This can often lead to a disproportionate allocation of settlement or verdict proceeds, potentially impacting the individual compensation received by each plaintiff. Simply put, some plaintiffs may unfairly receive a larger share of the settlement or verdict proceeds, while others may receive a disproportionately smaller amount. Having an experienced mass tort attorney mitigates this possibility.
  • Potential Extended Litigation Time: Mass tort lawsuits may not always be the fastest option. Unfortunately for plaintiffs seeking prompt resolution and compensation, the increased complexity of mass tort actions might result in extended litigation times. Managing a diverse group of plaintiffs, coordinating multiple legal teams, and addressing individual circumstances may take longer than expected. It should be noted, however, that the exact amount of litigation time can depend on a number of other factors such as the type of damage incurred and the skill and expertise of the attorneys involved. 
  • Limited Visibility: In certain stages of a mass tort lawsuit, plaintiffs may experience limited visibility and input. For example, bellwether trials, which are a significant element of mass tort lawsuits, involve selecting a group of representative cases to determine the direction and potential outcome of the litigation. Plaintiffs whose cases are not selected for the bellwether trials may not have direct involvement in the trial proceedings, as the focus is primarily on the selected cases. This can lead to a reduced ability of the individual plaintiff to have a say in the terms of the settlement.

Bottom Line

While mass tort lawsuits can serve as an excellent tool to help seek justice following certain damages, it is important to keep in mind that they come with certain downsides. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of mass tort lawsuits is essential in ensuring the best possible outcome for your specific case. If you are looking for legal support with a mass tort lawsuit and want to make sure that your voice is heard and your interests are protected, connect with one of our tort lawyers today. Attorney At Law is dedicated to providing top-notch legal support and bringing closure to those affected by mass tort incidents.

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