In top class action lawsuits there is usually just one or two class representatives. However, there could be up to thousands of other victims who have been affected in the same way by the wrongdoing of the defendant. These other victims are known as class members.
Although class members do not ultimately have active roles in the legal proceedings—in fact, they usually just sign their names and have nothing to actually do with the proceedings—these people are even then, still entitled to a share of the class action settlement if the plaintiffs win the case. This means that everyone earns cash payouts.
But not every lawsuit can be a class action lawsuit. You might also find yourself a victim of a person or company, and become a member of a mass tort lawsuit instead.
A mass tort lawsuit, which is most commonly known simply as mass torts, are similar in many ways to class action lawsuits.
The primary difference between a class action lawsuit and a mass tort lawsuit is that in a mass tort, all the plaintiffs are considered individuals, so even though they all sue the same person or company, each plaintiff has their own fate decided in the courts. Compared to a class action, which is different because there is only one single ruling that applies to all the plaintiffs together.
For mass tort lawsuits, the entity that is being sued that did the harm is usually a major company or corporation that has done illegal wrongdoings that ultimately harmed many people. The victims of their actions, the plaintiffs, will join together for a mass tort lawsuit, even though their claims will be considered in the court on an individual basis.
You could file a mass tort lawsuit for many reasons, here are some of the most common:
- Sustained damages from a defective product
- Sustained injury or harm from environmental damage that led to toxic living conditionsSuffering harm from an unsafe pharmaceutical medicine
- Suffering injury from unsound medical devices
In mass tort cases, the victims receive separate settlements depending on the specific damages that they suffered. This means the amount of money that is agreed to be paid in damages to the victims might be different for each invidiual victim.
Discover more differences between class action lawsuits and mass torts.
Class action lawsuits and mass tort lawsuits ultimately have many similarities, but there are also a few major differences between the two. Because of this, both types of lawsuits come with their own pros and cons.