While in legal circles, mass tort and class action are seen as more or less interchangeable; there are important distinctions between them. The main distinction is that mass torts are several individual lawsuits against a company, whereas a class action is one representative lawsuit against a company. However, which one is the preferred challenge to face is largely a matter of your perspective on risk.
Class Action: For All The Marbles
Generally speaking, a class action lawsuit is one where attorneys and activists work to identify members of an injured class of people. One lawsuit stands in for the entire group, and the settlement proceeds go to each member of the class equally. This is a popular tactic when there are large disasters, such as chemical spills at fertilizer plants.
There are many toxic tort class action lawsuits out there. It is difficult for plaintiffs to pursue because they must certify a class with the court before opening things. Researching and certifying the class is difficult and expensive. As is pursuing the outcome, however, once the legal team representing the class overcomes those barriers, the stakes for the lawsuit become extremely high.
Mass Torts: By A Thousand Cuts
Mass torts, on the other hand, are somewhat different. It may be about a similar issue, a large group of people pursuing compensation for similar action. It could even be about a toxic tort concern. However, whereas the class action will be one long, complex lawsuit, mass torts are individual lawsuits.
These simultaneous lawsuits infinitely magnify the amount of work you muse to defend yourself. However, there’s also a law of averages at play. You may win some or even lose, but the ultimate amount you will be found liable for can differ significantly from a class action.
You Don’t Have Much Of A Choice
Of course, the issue is that when it comes to which of the types of lawsuit you may face, you aren’t going to get to choose. You will be at the mercy of the ability of a class to form or the discretion of the attorneys against you. No matter what, you’ll need skilled, agile legal representation to protect you.