Class Action Lawsuit Versus Mass Tort

Most people heard about class action lawsuits but few are familiar with what is known as “mass tort”. Both of these are cases that have similar outcomes, which leads to a lot of confusion. However, each of these is handled in a different way. 


Lawsuits often involve one person that wants compensation for some damages. In class action cases and mass torts cases, plaintiffs share grievances. There are numerous people involved and the group is looking for financial compensation for something done by one defendant. 

Both of these see lawsuits consolidated in a single action. Proceedings are practically designed to remove how many court cases have to be handled at the same time since there is a single party sued as the defendant. 

The big difference between class actions and mass torts is how the plaintiffs are being treated. In mass torts, we talk about distinct individuals that are sometimes coming from the exact same geographic area. Due to this, the group of those injured is smaller than with the class action suits. 

Plaintiffs involved in mass tort cases are treated as being individuals. Every single plaintiff has to provide specific facts, like how the injury happened and what the defendant did to cause it. In class action lawsuits, a large plaintiffs group is seen as being a class. There is an individual that represents everyone involved. Class representatives respond and stand in for all members. 

When Are The Actions Used?

The class action lawsuit has to meet specific criteria. All the individuals involved have to be notified and have to choose if they want to find someone else as counsel or opt-out. Before the lawsuit, a motion needs to be filed. This is done by the representative we mentioned before. He will act on behalf of everyone involved. 

Class action lawsuits were created with the following criteria:

  • The class needs to be numerous so that it is impractical to have several lawsuits. 
  • Different facts or law questions are common to the entire class. 
  • Claims are typical for the entire class. 
  • The representative adequately and fairly protects class interests. 

With mass torts, it is impossible to meet the criteria mentioned above. For instance, every plaintiff was affected in different circumstances. Mass tort appears when factual situations are different and common issues are not enough. 

Usually, mass torts are made out of consumers who were injured on a larger scale due to defective products or drugs. Reactions differ greatly from one individual to another so it is impossible to establish a class action lawsuit. 

Is Mass Tort For You?

In most cases, mass torts are much more complicated than the class action lawsuits. They do not follow the standard legal procedures. This is why it is important to contact an experienced injury attorney that can tell you if you have a lawsuit or not to begin with. 

Look for someone with a good track record in mass tort lawsuits and do not assume that experience with class action lawsuits is enough. Mass torts are usually more complicated so you need the best help you can get. 

James McNeal

The author James McNeal