You may have read on a newspaper or seen on TV ads which say that you can qualify to take part in a mass tort or a class action lawsuit against a big company. However, distinguishing between the two legal actions can be very difficult for most people. If you are interested in taking part in a class action or mass tort lawsuit, or you are simply curious about the proceedings and what goes on there, this article will give you a brief overview of the similarities and differences of the two.
We will first start with mass tort lawsuits. Basically, they two are almost similar. They both sue a big company for damages or injuries against a large number of people. But with mass tort lawsuits, it basically a bunch of individual cases instead of one big lawsuit. All of these cases will then be combined into one single trial with the aim of saving time and money.
The class action lawsuit is basically characterized by a group action. Instead of numerous individual court cases. Each individual who wants to participate in such a suit will sign over their rights of charging the guilty company in one single lawsuit. This simply means that you place yourself in an all or nothing kind of situation along with other people who have incurred injuries or suffered damages at the hand of a big organization. An example is the Monsanto's roundup weed killer lawsuit. Check this website at https://ashcraftandgerel.com/practice-areas/asbestos-and-mesothelioma/ for more info!
If the company is convicted of the damages, they will have to pay an agreed amount of money as compensatory damages and punitive. Punitive money will be paid by the company as a punishment while the compensatory payment is the payment which refers to the actual damages that the plaintiff suffered. The money will then be divided according to the severity of the damages suffered by each member of the plaintiffs. It is therefore never equally divided.
There are many famous class action lawsuits, but the case against the pacific gas and electric company is probably the most known. In this land mark case, about 1100 people came together to sue the PG&E led by a lead poisoning lawyer at https://ashcraftandgerel.com/practice-areas/roundup-weed-killer-cancer-lawsuit/. PG&E was found guilty of dumping chromium 6 (a possible carcinogen) in the water used by the many homes around the area. An example of a mass tort lawsuit is the famous Exxon shipping company vs Baker. This was bout the Exxon Valdez wreck on Prince William Sound around 1989.