Clarksburg Mass Torts Lawyer
Most personal injury cases are the result of a singular incident. For example, a motorist may endure an injury because of a negligent truck driver who ignores a stop sign. Even if multiple people suffer harm, this is still a common personal injury case because there is a single set of facts and a small number of plaintiffs.
In contrast, other instances of negligence or recklessness can give rise to a massive number of injuries. Under the traditional rules of civil procedure, each of these plaintiffs would need to pursue a separate case. Because this would quickly overwhelm the court system and the defendants, state law allows plaintiffs with similar complaints against a common defendant to join their cases together into a single mass tort. These plaintiffs all share discovery, file a single lawsuit, and share in a unified verdict.
A Clarksburg mass torts lawyer could help you if you have suffered an injury in an incident that affected multiple people. An experienced attorney could work to determine if the facts of your loss fit into an established mass tort or even to initiate a new case to seek compensation on your behalf.
What is a Mass Tort?
Some incidents give rise to multiple claims from dozens or even hundreds of plaintiffs who all claim that a defendant caused their injuries. To save court resources and give these plaintiffs the advantage of banding together, WV Trial Court Rule 26 allows multiple victims to participate in a mass tort.
There are five conditions that allow plaintiffs to pursue a mass tort, and a case must meet at least one to qualify. Mass torts can arise in the following situations:
- Cases involving common questions of law or fact that involved a single incident in which multiple people suffered injuries
- Cases involving numerous plaintiffs who suffered injuries from a single defective product
- Cases involving numerous plaintiffs who suffered property damage from defective products
- Fraud cases involving economic damage to multiple people
- Nuisance cases from a singular defendant that affect multiple plaintiffs
A Clarksburg mass torts lawyer could help victims understand the criteria for mass tort cases and determine whether joining a mass tort would best serve their legal interests.
How to Initiate a Mass Tort Claim
A plaintiff and their attorney cannot file an initial complaint in a circuit court asking for a mass tort case. Instead, WV Trial Court Rule 26.06 states that the case must begin as a common personal injury complaint in a circuit court. Within six months of the court receiving the case, the judge or any party to the litigation may file a motion seeking a referral of the case to the Mass Litigation Panel.
The Mass Litigation Panel is a group of judges that examines every mass tort request, and either party may file a memo in opposition. In some cases, defendants may attempt to use this process to limit the collective power of multiple plaintiffs. If the Panel accepts the case as an example of a mass tort, it will then serve at the trial court for the remainder of the case. A Clarksburg mass torts attorney could help to file motions asking the Mass Litigation Panel to accept the case as an example of a mass tort.
Contact a Clarksburg Mass Torts Attorney Today
Many instances of negligence or recklessness affect dozens or hundreds of people. Industrial accidents, severe manufacturing errors, or construction accidents may leave multiple plaintiffs with similar claims against common defendants. When this is the case, these plaintiffs have the option of joining their cases into a single lawsuit. This is known as pursuing a mass tort.
A mass tort case presents plaintiffs with many advantages. Everyone involved can share discovery and retain the services of a single expert witness. Additionally, the court will appoint one plaintiff as a representative of the group, and this is the only person who needs to appear in court.
A Clarksburg mass tort lawyer could help determine if your case fits into an already established mass tort. If so, they can file a motion on your behalf to join that litigation. If your facts do not fit an already established case, an attorney could take the initiative to file a complaint in court. Call today to discuss your legal options.