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What is a ‘mass tort’ for products liability purposes?

Consumer products are often subjected to significant safety evaluations and tests to make sure that they are not harmful to the individuals who use them. Even after a product is tested and sent out into the market, though, a Kentucky resident may suffer an injury or other loss due to defects in the product’s design, manufacturing or warnings. If enough people are harmed by the same product and in the same way, all of their legal actions may be grouped together into a mass tort.

A tort is a wrongful action that injures another individual or a breach of a duty owed to another individual. Torts must be subjected to civil liability and have caused some sort of damage. The producers of consumer goods commit torts when they allow hazardous goods to reach individuals. Litigating thousands of claims against the same manufacturer or supplier of a dangerous product is not efficient for the courts. Therefore, in cases where many victims are created from a specific product defect, their claims may be brought into a single case, often called a class action lawsuit.

Victims in a class action lawsuit may not have their own personal injury lawyers and as a whole may not have to actually go to court to have their matter addressed by a judge. Evidence obtained from victims may be accumulated and presented by lawyers representing the victims of the class action, and damages collected from these suits are spread out to all of the victims who participated in the litigation.

Consumers may receive notices that they purchased products that are subject to class action or mass tort litigation. In this way, they can either join or opt out of the products liability class action suit. Products that are defective and pose a danger to consumers should not make it into the hands of a consumer. If they do, and consumers are harmed, a mass tort may be one option to consider.