Lafayette Mass Tort Attorneys
Mass Tort Litigation in Tippecanoe County
When many people are harmed by a sole entity’s negligence, they can take part in what is known as “mass litigation.” There are two main types of mass litigation: class actions and mass torts. With a class action, many individuals take part in a lawsuit against one or multiple defendants, resulting in a single settlement or verdict that is split amongst all participating parties. With a mass tort, however, many parties can take part in litigation against a sole entity, but they have the opportunity to recover settlements or verdicts specific to their individual damages. This tends to be a more ideal option for large groups of people who are injured or otherwise harmed to varying degrees and capacities by a singular cause.
At Hovde Dassow + Deets, our Lafayette mass tort attorneys represent clients in mass litigation against powerful corporations, product manufacturers, businesses, government agencies, and other entities. For more than five decades, our firm has sought to hold negligent parties accountable and recover full and fair compensation for the injured. To date, we have secured more than $300 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. If you or someone you love was harmed due to widespread negligence or wrongdoing, reach out to our team to learn how we can help.
Understanding Mass Torts
Although many people are familiar with the concept of a class action lawsuit, fewer have heard of or understand mass torts. While the two are similar, there are several important differences between these different types of mass litigation.
First, what is a tort? A tort is defined as a wrongful act or omission (not including a breach of contract) that results in bodily injury or financial harm for which restitution may be sought. A mass tort, therefore, is a wrongful act or omission against multiple parties, resulting in bodily injury or financial harm and for which all parties may seek restitution.
Some examples of common mass torts include litigation involving:
- Product Defects: Product defects, such as faulty automobile tires or dangerous children’s toys, tend to affect large groups of consumers. Those injured or otherwise harmed by defective products may have grounds to file or participate in mass tort litigation.
- Defective Drugs and Medical Devices: Similar to defective products, defective pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices frequently injure or kill dozens to even hundreds or thousands of people. This often gives rise to mass tort litigation.
- Environmental Contamination: Oil spills, gas leaks, groundwater contamination, and other damage to the environment can physically and financially affect nearby residents, businesses, workers, and others. When this occurs, affected parties can pursue mass tort litigation.
- Toxic Exposure: Harmful exposure to toxic chemicals, gases, pesticides, and other substances tends to affect large groups of people. Injured workers, residents, and others, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed, could have grounds for mass tort litigation.
- Mesothelioma: Widespread exposure to asbestos, which is known to cause cancer and other serious health conditions, has led to numerous mesothelioma cases. Often, those diagnosed with mesothelioma (or their loved ones) can take part in mass tort litigation.
Essentially, if multiple parties are injured or otherwise harmed due to a singular cause, those parties can pursue mass tort litigation against the liable party/parties.
At Hovde Dassow + Deets, we represent clients in a range of mass tort cases, including but not limited to those involving:
- Juul E-cigarettes
- Talcum powder
- Testosterone therapy
We can advise you of your options and help you protect your rights throughout the legal process. Get in touch with us today to discuss your case with one of our Lafayette mass tort attorneys.
What Is the Difference Between Mass Torts & Class Actions?
Mass torts and class actions are very similar in that both involve multiple plaintiffs seeking restitution against one or more defendants due to a single cause of injury or harm. However, the main difference between class action lawsuits and mass torts is how restitution is awarded.
With a class action, all participating parties are considered a “single plaintiff” by the court. As a result, the court will only award a single settlement or verdict. This settlement or verdict is then divided amongst all participating plaintiffs. Therefore, the more plaintiffs that take part in the lawsuit, the lower the amount each individual party will recover.
With a mass tort, on the other hand, each participating plaintiff can seek compensation for their specific damages. The amount you can recover in a mass tort settlement or verdict is, therefore, not necessarily dependent on how many people take part in the lawsuit. Rather, it depends on the exact type of and amount in damages you suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligent or wrongful conduct.
Why Participate in Mass Tort Litigation?
Ostensibly, the purpose of mass tort litigation is to limit the overall number of lawsuits moving through the court system and help speed up the recovery process for injured and affected individuals.
Some of the benefits of mass tort litigation include:
- Lowered Costs: Proving a lawsuit can be both time-consuming and costly, sometimes prohibitively so. While it can be difficult for a single person to bring a lawsuit against a large and powerful entity, such as a pharmaceutical company or an auto manufacturer, the cost of doing so tends to be significantly lower when case research, investigative findings, and expert witness fees are shared among multiple cases.
- Shared Discovery: Mass torts allow for shared discovery, meaning research, resources, and information gleaned from one specific case can be used to support another. This not only leads to more powerful cases but can also significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for these cases to move through the legal system.
- Expedited Processes: Often (though not always) mass torts move more quickly than individual lawsuits. This is because resources can be shared amongst plaintiffs, as can information, research, and discovery. Defendants may also be more likely to settle mass torts out of court to avoid costly legal fees, whereas they are more likely to aggressively defend single-plaintiff lawsuits due to their comparatively large resources.
- Personalized Recoveries: Unlike class actions, which only allow participating parties to receive a percentage of a single recovery, mass torts allow participants to recover compensation for their specific damages. This is a huge advantage in cases where many people are uniquely harmed due to a single cause, such as a defective medication or toxic chemical. Often, mass torts result in higher individual settlements and verdicts than class action lawsuits.
Our Lafayette mass tort lawyers can review the details of your case and determine if you have grounds to initiate or take part in an existing mass tort. In some cases, it may be more appropriate to pursue individual personal injury litigation. Our firm is here to guide you through the legal process and ensure that you fully understand all of your legal rights and options.
Request a Free Consultation Today
If you have been injured or if someone you love died due to widespread negligence or misconduct, you deserve justice. Our team at Hovde Dassow + Deets is prepared to fight for you and your family. We are aggressive advocates for our clients, both in and out of the courtroom, and have earned a reputation for meticulous case preparation, personalized attention, and outstanding results.
We are ranked as a Tier 1 law firm for personal injury litigation and product liability and are one of the seven Tier 1 law firms in the state for medical malpractice law, as named by U.S. News and World Report. As your legal team, you can count on us to be there for you every step of the way, providing the answers you need and the representation you deserve.
Words can not express how exceptional Rick Hovde and Kelly Faulk are in the Field of Medical Malpractice- Bob D
You can tell we're just not a client but a family that they care about.- Steve H.
The best thing about working with Hovde Dassow + Deets was Nick's professionalism & knowledge.- Sarah S.
Our family very much appreciates the services we received from Nick Deets & his staff.- Teresa S.
Very professional, honest, upfront all throughout the case.- John H.