Were you injured because of a defective or dangerous product or dangerous negligence of another party? If so, a Fort Pierce mass tort lawyer may be able to help you recover money to compensate for damages. Some people experience severe, worsening, or long-term effects from dangerous products or actions. Our legal team is here to help you determine if you have a case and help you regain control of your life. If you were injured, you might be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of capacity, loss of income, medical bills, and more.
What Is a Mass Tort Lawyer?
Mass tort lawyers are personal injury lawyers. They often have additional training or experience in personal injuries and representing multiple cases. This means they handle civil matters involving lawsuits rather than criminal matters. If there is a criminal matter related to a person’s injury, that is handled by a different court and different attorneys. Lawyers specializing in mass torts are skilled litigators representing multiple clients injured by the same action or product. For example, if people who took a certain medication suffered the same injuries after taking it, a mass tort lawyer may represent many victims.
Types of Mass Tort Claims in Fort Pierce
From dangerous mattresses to prescription drugs, many potential sources of injuries lead to mass tort claims. These are just a few of the most common types of claims in Fort Pierce.
Contaminated or Defective Consumer Products
Foods, tools, toys, household appliances, and many other products can be dangerous. People may consume or use them without knowing the dangers and suffer serious injuries. There may be isolated batch errors or contamination in some cases. In others, all the products may be dangerous due to negligence. With tort law, these are three main forms of dangerous product claims:
- Failure to provide adequate warning
- Defective design
- Defective manufacturing
Failure to provide adequate warning applies if there is a specific way to use a product and certain actions that should be avoided for safety reasons. For instance, a fitness machine may only be made to withstand a certain weight. The manufacturer may be liable if the manufacturer does not warn consumers about this and several people are injured.
Defective design happens when there is an error in how the product functions. Alternately, defective manufacturing does not mean that there is a design flaw. However, an error in the way the product is made leads to danger. For instance, consider an electric blanket. If it tends to shock a person when set too high because of poor design planning, that is a design defect. If the blanket is thinner than it should be in an area near a heating coil than what the design plan shows, that is a manufacturing defect.
Environmental Exposure and Toxins
Some paints, chemicals, and other substances contain toxins that can make people ill or cause serious harm. If they are improperly made or do not have understandable instructions, many people can suffer from the products. In mass tort cases, one company or entity is often responsible for the problem. Some mass tort cases for environmental issues may involve cities or utility companies as well.
Defective Medical Devices and Drugs
During the past several years, there have been hundreds of drug recalls because of dangerous or defective drugs. Sometimes, a batch of drugs sent to a certain location may be contaminated or contain incorrect doses and injure people in that area. In other cases, the drug’s ingredients may be discovered to be dangerous and cause widespread harm.
Although the actions of health care providers may sometimes be the source of an injury, many injuries happen because of medical devices. For example, a surgeon may perform a hip replacement surgery correctly, and the patient may not experience problems during recovery. However, the patient may later find out that the actual hip replacement device is defective. There have been many hip replacement lawsuits because of dangers or defects. People have also been injured due to medical assistive devices not being put into the body. Drugs and devices can lead to injuries and complications that sometimes leave people with permanent or debilitating damage.
Are Mass Tort Claims and Class Action Lawsuits the Same?
No, they are not the same. However, confusing the terms is easy since they involve multiple people. With class action lawsuits, there is usually a larger group of plaintiffs. A key difference is in how courts treat plaintiffs in these cases. In mass tort claims, plaintiffs are treated as distinct individuals instead of one entity. This means mass torts include a large group of individual lawsuits instead of one grouped lawsuit, and the monetary awards are based on factors from individual cases. Because of this, compensation amounts can be larger than they would be in a class action lawsuit.
With class action lawsuits, the court views all people in the lawsuit more as an entity. It is one lawsuit rather than many individual lawsuits. Because it is tried as one lawsuit, one monetary award is divided among the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs represent the group’s interest, and the defendant is often a large corporation. Both types of cases can help reduce the number of individual lawsuits addressed in court. Despite mass tort cases still being individual lawsuits, there are ways the court reduces how many are individually tried. This will be discussed in the section about how the mass tort process works.
Why You Need a Fort Pierce Mass Tort Attorney
If you suffered an injury due to a dangerous product or action, it is important to contact an attorney. This is especially true if there is a danger in your geographical area. For example, if many people in your neighborhood are sick, you may discover that there is polluted groundwater. Contacting an attorney to handle any matter that caused you injury is important. When you try to work out matters directly with a responsible party, you do not receive the compensation you deserve or need.
In some cases, people suffer serious effects that worsen over time. Also, there may be complications in some cases. For instance, a person with a dangerous vaginal mesh may damage other organs. Over time, that organ damage can lead to other problems and may negatively impact the individual’s quality of life. Your long-term prognosis is considered when you work with a mass tort lawyer. Personal injury attorneys know how to work with the right medical professionals to assess the full extent of your injuries and consider the potential long-term effects.
In addition to considering your injury’s physical and emotional health-related aspects, your attorney considers how changes impact your life. You may have lost your ability to work, which may be a temporary or long-term problem. Some people need to train for a new career if they cannot perform the work they used to do and are not fully disabled. Alternately, some people who are disabled may need assistance with cleaning, cooking, childcare, or other important tasks. Others may experience long-term negative effects on relationships or loss of intimacy because of injuries. Rest assured that your attorney will consider every unique aspect of how the injury impacts your income or ability to provide.
How the Mass Tort Process Works in Fort Pierce
If you live in Fort Pierce or nearby, we welcome you to contact us to discuss your case with a free consultation. This is the first step. Our legal team will ask questions and may request documents. We determine if you have a case. If you do, we will discuss other important details with you. This includes a compensation agreement, the steps in the process, and answers to any other questions you may have. After you agree to work with us on your case, we set to work handling investigations, research, correspondence, and filing court documents. Although our attorneys work efficiently, these cases typically take some time to investigate. For example, a consolidated discovery phase may last a year or two.
Mass tort cases with many plaintiffs that span multiple districts or regions often include bellwether trials, which are test cases the court hears and tries. The selected cases are ones that represent most plaintiffs or the issue at hand. Why are there bellwether trials? They give everyone involved a better sense of what to expect and help determine how to proceed. There may be one or more initial trials, and they can serve as a precedent or reference point for other cases.
Speak With A Fort Pierce Mass Tort Lawyer Today
For large or small mass tort claims, your attorney will fight for the most favorable outcome for your case. If you and others suffered the same injury from defective or dangerous products or actions, a mass tort case might be right for you to help you get fair compensation. While all mass tort cases take some time to settle, they can often be much more efficient than hearing and trying a separate case in court. Also, being part of a mass tort claim may increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries from a responsible entity. To speak to a Fort Pierce mass tort attorney about your case, please contact us for a free consultation today.