You weren’t the only one who was hurt by a defective medical device, dangerous drug, or other product. You understand the potential benefits of pursuing a mass tort case with others who have been similarly hurt by the same product, and you are interested in moving forward, but first, you need to know what to expect.
What Happens in a Mass Tort Case
You are making a big decision. Before you begin or join a mass tort lawsuit, you should know what to expect as a mass tort case progresses through the courts. The different stages of a mass tort lawsuit include:
- The beginning stages. Before you ever file a lawsuit, a mass tort lawyer will review your records, discuss your injury with you, and research other injury claims to see if there are similarities. Once that research and analysis are done, your attorney will discuss your legal options with you.
- Federal court filing. Mass tort cases are filed together in federal court, even if plaintiffs live in different states. A common court allows the cases to be handled more efficiently.
- Bellwether trials. After all of the cases included in the mass tort action are tried, the court typically picks a few cases that are representative of the plaintiffs’ claims and hears those cases in court. This allows the plaintiffs and the defendant to predict likely issues and to make informed decisions about how they want to proceed with litigation or settlement discussions.
- Resolution of your claim. A mass tort case is different from a class-action lawsuit. In a class-action case, one lawsuit is filed on behalf of all of the plaintiffs. In a mass tort case, each plaintiff files an individual lawsuit. That means that each plaintiff must resolve an individual lawsuit. Often, plaintiffs make the same settlement decisions based on the outcome of the bellwether trials and the advice of their attorneys. However, before any settlement is reached or your case goes to court, you should speak with your lawyer about the pros and cons of the possible case resolution.
There is no set time frame for how long all of these steps take or even if all of the steps need to be taken. Sometimes mass tort cases take longer than individual lawsuits because the issues are more complicated, and there are multiple plaintiffs. However, the potential benefits of sharing evidence and litigation costs often outweigh the extra time it takes to resolve a mass tort lawsuit. Additionally, sometimes cases may settle or be dismissed before bellwether trials occur.
Why You Need a Mass Tort Attorney
Every mass tort plaintiff should be represented by counsel. Even if bellwether cases that are identical to yours have already been decided, you need a lawyer to represent you.
Your attorney will make sure that all of your legal rights are protected and will fight for your full and fair recovery of damages. If you’ve been hurt by a medical device, medication, or other consumer product, then our mass tort lawyers will fight for your recovery of:
- Medical costs, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other healthcare needs.
- Lost income for any money or benefits that you cannot earn due to your injury. This could include, for example, wages, employee benefits, and income from self-employment.
- Out-of-pocket costs for any expenses you’ve had because of your injury.
- Pain and suffering. Your physical pain and emotional suffering may be a significant part of your recovery. Your lawyer will help you calculate these damages.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the company that made the medication, medical device, or other product that hurt you was grossly negligent or willful in its actions or inactions.
Your time to file a mass tort case is limited by law. Do not miss out on the recovery that you deserve. Contact the experienced lawyers of Keefe Disability Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation.