Welcome to another one of our frequently asked questions. I’m Jim Adler, the Texas Hammer, and today we’re talking about mass torts. That’s a common kind of lawsuit for people who were injured by defective drugs or a medical device.

When one person files a lawsuit, they’re asking the court to decide whether they should be compensated for the other side’s wrongdoing. That’s the kind of case you might file if you were involved in a car crash. But when lots of people have the same complaint against the same party, like a drug manufacturer, that’s not very efficient.

Those cases might become mass torts. In a mass tort, a lot of people still sue the drug or device company on their own. But the court groups those lawsuits together and puts them in front of just one judge, who handles things as if all of these cases were one case. This allows the cases to be handled more efficiently. Once the case is far enough along, a few cases are chosen to go to trial, to test how all the cases might come out in court. Once both sides know how those juries decided, they can discuss whether and for how much to settle the other cases.

A mass tort is different from a class action. A class action also brings together a lot of people with the same complaint against the same party, but they only file one case and the outcome is the same for all of them. All the plaintiffs in a class action have to be in similar situations, but a mass tort doesn’t require that.

Because mass torts bring together a lot of individuals who were all hurt by the same company, they’re very common in cases involving defective prescription drugs or defective medical devices. In those situations, every plaintiff was injured by the defective product, but it might have affected them differently based on luck, health or other differences. For example, lots of people have sued because the antacid Zantac contains a chemical that causes cancer, but not everyone may have developed cancer, and those who did may have different types of cancer.

If you were hurt by a defective medical device or a dangerous drug, you may be able to join a mass tort against the company that sold you that product. To learn more about your rights and your options, contact us for a free consultation through jimadler.com or by calling 1-800-567-7575.