Frequently Asked Questions About Defective Products and Dangerous Drugs
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Are there benefits to mass tort actions?
In a mass tort action, the same evidence is presented to the court in multiple cases. This means once it is only necessary for the legal team to develop the case against the at-fault party once, however, the evidence can be used for many victim’s cases.
Mass torts also often result in higher awards for victims than class actions lawsuits (where there is one award amount that is distributed among the victims). In mass torts, each victim is able to present their own case and received their own judgment award.
What is a mass tort?
In some situations, mass torts are torts that involve a large number of victims. Some of the more common types of mass tort cases include defective medical devices or dangerous pharmaceuticals.
Mass torts need to be approved by the court before they are allowed to proceed. The following factors will be considered by the court:
- The number of victims that were injured or killed. The courts usually required a number of victims.
- The location of the victims will also be considered. When the victims live near each other, the court may be more apt to approve a mass tort, although this is not always the case.
- The cause of the injury is also a factor. In mass torts, there is usually one common cause of the injury.
What is a tort law?
A tort is an injurious act that occurs due to the fault of another. Tort law cover violations where one party’s behavior or action causes injury, loss, or harm to another party. Personal injury claims fall under tort law.
The purpose of tort law is to enable the victim to be compensated for any losses they suffered because of the at-fault party’s actions. There must be three elements present in a tort action:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care to the victim.
- The at-fault party breached that duty of care through their action or behavior
- That breach caused the victim’s injuries.
What are different types of product liability?
The primary types of product liability claims are:
- Failure to Warn/Insufficient Warning: The manufacturer of the product failed to provide proper warning labels or instructions for use with the product.
- Defective Design: The design of the product was defective or dangerous.
- Manufacturing Defect: The defect occurred during manufacturing of the product, such as using materials that caused the defect or is poorly assembled.
What is the gray market in product liability cases?
The gray market refers to situations where a vendor purchases a product and then resells it for a discounted price. Common places where gray market products can be found include:
- Ebay and other online auction sites
- Garage sales or flea markets
- Fundraising events
If a victim is injured by a product they purchased from a gray market, then the victim may have issues when it comes to pursuing a product liability claim. If this is your situation, a Virginia defective product attorney can evaluate what type of case you may have.
What are the elements needed in a product liability claim?
When a victim has been injured by a defective or dangerous product, they may be able to collect financial compensation for their injuries. A Virginia product liability attorney will need to prove the following elements to be successful:
- The product was defective
- The victim was using the product as it was intended to be used at the time the injury occurred.
- The victim sustained an injury.
- The product caused the injury.
What is the difference between a mass tort action and a class action lawsuit?
In every mass tort action, every victim has a separate lawsuit and trial which results in distinct damages for each victim. In a class action, there are many plaintiffs who are represented by a class legal representative in one trial. Any damages awarded in a class action lawsuit are distributed among the victims.
What are the different types of mass tort actions?
- Consumer Product Claims: If there were multiple victims killed or injured by a defective or dangerous product, a mass tort action may be filed. Some of the more common types of mass tort actions include contaminated foods, household products, toys, and vehicle parts.
- Environmental Claims: There have been many cases of companies doing things that have consequences to the environment and the people who live in that area. These types of claims often involve victims who suffer long term damages, such as factory emissions, groundwater contamination, and oil spills.
- Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Claims: Although there is a regulatory process these products must go through before they are made available to consumers, many of these products end up in recalls or removal from the market because of the serious injuries the cause.
What are mass torts?
Mass torts are a type of legal action which can be filed when there is more than one incident of negligence or recklessness that causes injury or death to a group of victims. Mass tort actions can be filed in both state or federal courts. Frequently, these cases are consolidated into multidistrict litigation if a judge feels this action is appropriate. Some of the factors the judge will consider include:
- How close do the victims live to each other?
- Were the victims’ injuries similar?
- Was there a common cause of injury?