If you suffer devastating injuries in an accident and someone else is at fault, you may have the right to compensation for your losses. However, when many others have also suffered the same injuries or been involved in accidents eerily similar to yours, you may have grounds for a mass tort lawsuit. If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover total compensation for the damages you suffered and ensure the liable party is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
An experienced South Carolina mass tort lawyer at Shelly Leeke Law Firm is here to help you get the most out of your case. We have extensive experience handling the complex nature of mass tort claims. Our team has recovered millions of dollars for our clients over the years, proving we know how to win for injury victims across the state.
A dedicated South Carolina personal injury attorney at our firm can help you demand justice whether you were injured due to a defective product or medication, or lost a loved one. Contact our legal team for a 100% free consultation today to learn more about the difference between mass torts and class action lawsuits and how much you could be awarded if you win.
What Is a Mass Tort?
Mass torts are a type of personal injury lawsuit filed within the South Carolina civil court system. Here, multiple individuals or families have suffered similar injuries or damages after being exposed to or using the same defective product or substance. Mass torts can include a wide variety of accidents, products, and events.
In some cases, it is necessary to try mass tort claims in federal court. This is particularly true if parties across multiple states are interested in coming together to pursue legal action against the liable party. Your lawyer can provide further clarity if your case should be tried at the federal level.
Often, mass tort attorneys will work together after conducting separate investigations. We do this to share evidence that can be used to support all parties involved in the mass tort claim. When our mass tort lawyers work together to advocate for their client’s rights, we can pool our resources to give our clients the best opportunity to recover total compensation for their suffering.
Mass Tort vs Class Action Lawsuit
It is not unusual for consumers to confuse mass torts and class action lawsuits. However, class action lawsuits are much different from mass tort claims, most notably in how they are handled and which injury victims meet the eligibility requirements.
It may not always be clear whether a mass tort or class action is more appropriate. Class actions and mass torts differ in how settlements are paid out. In either case, you will want to be sure you are maximizing your compensation.
Your South Carolina mass tort attorney will review the details of your case to determine whether a mass tort or class action is a better option for you and your family. Understanding the characteristics of each option can offer some of the clarity you may be looking for. Here is more:
Characteristics of Mass Torts
Mass torts involve multiple plaintiffs coming together to file a lawsuit against the individual or entity responsible for the injuries or damages the victims sustained. In mass tort claims, every plaintiff is entitled to compensation for the total value of their individual losses. This means your mass tort lawyer will need to carefully evaluate the various ways your life has been affected by the injuries you suffered and the accident you were involved in to determine how much your damages are worth.
Characteristics of Class Action Lawsuits
You may be able to file a class action lawsuit if you have experienced the same types of damages as the other members of the class. Although mass tort claims and class action lawsuits are similar, class action lawsuits pay out settlements much differently. Instead of your damages being classified individually, they will become a part of the class, and awards will be awarded equitably based on the extent to which the victim’s lives have been affected as opposed to their specific losses.
Advantages of Mass Torts
There are several advantages to choosing to move forward with a mass tort claim. The most notable is the opportunity to recoup every loss. Some of the other noteworthy benefits include:
- The ability to come together with hundreds or even thousands of plaintiffs dealing with similar injuries or damages
- Saving time and resources by combining plaintiff’s lawsuits into a single mass tort
- The ability to recover compensation for your specific unique damages as opposed to dividing settlements equitably
- Avoiding contradictory legal judgments that could make your lawsuit more complex
Why You Should Consider Filing a Mass Tort Claim
After everything you have been through, you may be wondering whether it may be a better idea to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit as opposed to a mass tort claim. A personal injury claim is something you take on singularly. Mass torts allow you to work with others going through the same trauma as you.
The extra support of a mass tort could be valuable in more ways than one. However, in some cases, personal injury lawsuits are more appropriate. For example, if your accident or injuries were an isolated event, a personal injury claim would be a better option.
The advantages of a mass tort are undeniable. If you qualify, you could significantly increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve. Here are some of the top reasons to move forward with a mass tort lawsuit:
Never Put Your Own Money on the Line
One of the advantages of going with a mass tort claim is the ability to access additional evidence that can support your case and the right to compensation for your damages. Mass tort lawyers will come together to share evidence and pool resources. If your case is particularly complex, and your attorney is running out of the funds needed for your case to be successful, a mass tort gives you the opportunity to access additional financial support so you can continue fighting for your rights.
Get Proven Legal Experience on Your Side
Mass tort claims can only be successful if you have knowledgeable and proven legal counsel on your side. Your individual personal injury attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm has extensive experience handling personal injury lawsuits and mass tort claims. Your case will be even stronger when we team up with other reputable mass tort attorneys interested in holding the at-fault party accountable for their negligence.
Save Time by Filing a Mass Tort Lawsuit
If every person dealing with similar injuries, damages, and at-fault parties filed their own personal injury claims, it would take years before each person’s case was settled. You can save time and access the financial compensation you need to move forward with your life by filing a mass tort lawsuit. This way, the legal system only needs to hear one case with multiple plaintiffs instead of processing each claim individually.
Common Types of Mass Torts Shelly Leeke Law Firm Handles
Our mass tort attorneys are prepared to handle a wide variety of injuries, accidents, and damages. Shelly Leeke Law Firm has extensive experience handling many types of mass tort lawsuits, including:
- Mass toxic tort claims
- Medication mass torts
- Plane crash mass tort claims
- Motor vehicle accident mass torts
- Mass disaster tort lawsuits
- Product liability torts
- Other types of mass torts
These are just a few examples of mass torts. It is likely you could be dealing with another type of mass tort claim not included in the list above. Contact our team today to discuss your options further.
Mass Toxic Tort Claims
One of the most common types of mass tort claims is mass toxic torts. These are often pursued when multiple victims have been exposed to toxic or harmful substances. Your mass tort attorney in South Carolina will be responsible for showing how your injury or illness was directly caused by the exposure to a specific toxic substance, such as:
- Contaminated water
- Unsafe waste disposal
- Industrial chemicals
- Pesticides, including roundup
- Lead-based paint
Medication Mass Torts
Medication mass torts are pursued when victims suffer significant damages, illnesses, or death caused by the devastating side effects of defective drugs. Drug manufacturers and distributors, and even pharmaceutical companies can be held accountable. Some of the most common types of medication mass torts and defective drugs include:
Plane Crash Mass Tort Claims
Plane crashes are more common than you might think. This is particularly true with private airlines and charters. When a plane crashes, survivors and the victim’s surviving family members will often come together to pursue legal action against the plane manufacturer, airline, pilot, and other parties that caused the plane crash through a mass tort claim.
Motor Vehicle Accident Mass Torts
Motor vehicle crashes are some of the most common types of mass tort claim accidents. However, they do not only include standard sedans. Motor vehicle accidents can include multiple types of vehicles and parties, including:
When motor vehicle or truck accidents are caused by defective or malfunctioning parts, several parties could be held accountable through a mass tort lawsuit. Parts designers and manufacturers are frequently sued. But distributors, dealerships, retailers, mechanics and maintenance workers, safety inspectors, and executives could also be responsible.
Mass Disaster Tort Lawsuits
It is more common than you might think to suffer substantial property losses or severe injuries in a natural disaster. You may be able to work with others who have also suffered damages in the same natural disaster to pursue a mass disaster tort. This most frequently occurs when government agencies, corporations, or other at-fault parties fail to uphold their duty of care to the public or consumers.
Product Liability Torts
Product liability torts are one of the most common types of mass tort lawsuits. Generally, mass torts are triggered when products are recalled. In many product liability mass torts, defendants argue that plaintiffs did not properly use the product in question.
However, your attorneys will work together to present evidence that demonstrates the products in question were defective. The top 3 most common types of product defects include items that are inherently dangerous, do not have necessary warning labels, or have design defects that make them dangerous when they are used as intended. Some of the most common types of defective products seen in mass tort claims include:
- 3M earplugs
- Motor vehicle parts
- Home appliances
Other Types of Mass Torts
Many other types of mass tort lawsuits are also possible. As long as you qualify for a mass tort, you have a chance to demand justice. Some of the other instances in which you may file a mass tort claim include:
- Employer harassment or discrimination
- Damages caused by unfair business practices
- Defective medical equipment and devices, including:
- Hernia mesh
- ParaGard IUD
- Surgical staplers
- Proton pump inhibitors
- IVC filters
- Talcum powder
Compensation for Victims in Mass Torts
It will be up to your mass tort attorney to figure out how much compensation you should be awarded for your damages. You have the right to be made whole when you file a mass tort lawsuit. Although there is no amount of money that will make up for the trouble and trauma you experienced.
Accessing the financial support you are entitled to allows you to pick up the pieces of your life and move forward. You do not need to be a victim forever. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration when calculating the value of your claim include:
- Ongoing medical treatment and future medical expenses
- How old you are
- The types of injuries or illnesses were diagnosed with
- Your mental and physical capabilities
- The type of product or substance
- How long you used the product in question
- Your prognosis
When you suffer severe injury, illness, or damage, you may be unable to continue working. Whether you are out of work for several days or weeks at a time or suffer debilitating injuries that prevent you from being able to continue earning a living, you are entitled to your full reimbursement for your wage losses. Some examples of these damages could include:
- Loss of income
- Diminished earning potential
- Employer-provided health insurance coverage
- Contributions from your employer to your retirement savings or 401(k)
- Sick leave and paid time off
- Salary increases and bonuses
It is crucial that the liable party compensate you for every single medical expense related to your injury or illness. The cost of healthcare in the United States is astronomically high, and you do not want to get stuck covering tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills when someone else is at fault. Some examples of medical expenses you can be compensated for include:
- Diagnostic testing
- Medical treatment
- Reconstructive surgery
- Your hospital stay
- Ambulance bills
- Mental health counseling
- Future medical care
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Experimental treatments
- Medical home accommodations
- Medical equipment and devices
Being compensated for your non-economic damages is essential. Although they do not have a financial value, it is not uncommon for victims to find their entire lives turned upside down by the defendant’s negligent or reckless actions. These non-monetary losses can often be far more significant than the economic damages related to your injury or accident.
Some examples of non-economic damages could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and skin scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Reputational damage
- Psychological distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Feelings of shame and indignity
- Shock, fear, anticipation, and apprehension
If you lost a loved one in any type of accident, such as a plane crash, you may be able to seek compensation through a wrongful death mass tort claim. The damages awarded in wrongful death claims are slightly different, as they can include damages awarded to the decedent’s surviving family members. You can speak with a mass tort attorney in South Carolina at our firm to find out whether you have the authority to file a wrongful death mass tort on behalf of your treasured family member.
South Carolina Mass Tort FAQ
If you are confused about what mass tort lawsuits are and whether you meet the eligibility requirements, you are not alone, and you may have many unanswered questions about your legal options and how mass torts work. With that in mind, we have addressed some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding mass torts in South Carolina below. Additional questions we do not cover here can be discussed in further detail when you contact our team for a free consultation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Mass Torts in South Carolina?
Mass tort claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit. This means your claim must be filed before the statute of limitations for South Carolina personal injury claims expires. According to South Carolina Code §15-3-530, you have only three years from the date of your accident to file suit.
Of course, there are many situations in which the statute of limitations may be temporarily paused. The deadline may be tolled if you did not discover injuries related to the incident until a later date or if your minor child suffered injuries. You may be able to extend the statute of limitation if extenuating circumstances apply.
How Long Will My Mass Tort Claim Take?
It is difficult to say how long it might take for your mass tort claim to settle. There are several factors that could impact whether your master is resolved quickly or takes longer than expected. First, your personal injury lawyer will need to:
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident
- Interview experts and obtain witness statements
- Secure copies of medical records and crash reports
- Review other relevant evidence
- Calculate the value of your damages for your mass tort lawsuit
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Challenge allegations of shared liability
- Be sure your mass tort claim is filed before the statute of limitation expires
If you hope to speed up your mass tort claim, there are certain steps you could take to help it along. Make sure that you provide your attorney with all evidence, authorizations, and other information as soon as possible. You should also follow your legal representative’s advice and instructions at all times and request regular case status updates from your attorney.
Do I Qualify for a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
One of the most common questions injury victims have is whether they meet the eligibility requirements for a mass tort lawsuit. Every person’s case is different. But if several plaintiffs have all been injured in the same way and suffered damages caused by the same liable party, you may meet the criteria for a mass tort claim.
Can I Be Awarded Punitive Damages in a Mass Tort?
Yes, punitive damages can be awarded in mass tort lawsuits. However, you should never rely on punitive damages being paid out in your case. Generally, court systems will only award exemplary damages if the defendant’s actions are deemed maliciously intentional or grossly negligent.
The South Carolina civil courts must feel it appropriate to punish the liable party beyond the compensatory damages they owe you and other liable parties. Usually, punitive damages are imposed when the court system wants to send a message to the community that these actions are intolerable and prove that they will take similar actions seriously. This way, they can deter other parties from committing similar acts of negligence or misconduct in the future.
Connect with a Mass Tort Lawyer in South Carolina Today
Mass torts are one of the most difficult, complicated, and time-consuming types of personal injury claims. Make sure you have a reputable legal advocate on your side. Shelly Leeke Law Firm can help you understand how mass torts work.
We will work diligently to ensure you know what to expect from the claims process. We will prepare you so you know how to avoid being taken advantage of during one of the most challenging times in your life. This way, you can take back control of your life.
Mass tort lawsuits give you an opportunity to maximize your financial compensation and come together with other victims to make the at-fault party pay. You can demand the compensation that is rightfully yours with help from an experienced South Carolina mass tort attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm. Claim your 100% free consultation by filling out our confidential contact form or calling our office today.