Tampa Class Action & Mass Tort Lawyer

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Tampa Class Action & Mass Tort Lawyer

Have you been harmed by a defective product or negligence on the part of a large entity, such as a company, facility, or otherwise? If so, you may have grounds for a valid class action or mass tort claim. Please continue reading and contact a skilled Tampa class action & mass tort lawyer from Merricks Law Group to learn more about how we can assist you.

Class Action Lawsuits in Florida

A class action lawsuit is a legal mechanism allowing one or several plaintiffs to file and prosecute a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group, or “class.” This type of lawsuit is particularly common in situations where the damages or injuries suffered by individuals are too small to justify individual claims, but collectively, the harm is significant. People file class actions to achieve efficiency in litigation, lower the costs of legal action, and hold defendants accountable for widespread harm.

One example of a notable class action lawsuit is the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in 1997, where major tobacco companies settled with states, including Florida, for health-related damages caused by smoking. Another example is the recent class action against a major Florida utility company for overcharges on services.

Steps to Filing a Class Action Lawsuit

The steps to filing a class action lawsuit in the state of Florida are as follows:

  1. Identify the Class: The first step involves defining the group affected by the issue. The class should have common legal or factual claims against the defendant.
  2. Choose a Representative Plaintiff: This individual will represent the interests of the entire class. They need to have claims typical of the class and be capable of fairly and adequately protecting the interests of the class.
  3. File a Complaint: The representative, with the help of an attorney, files a complaint that outlines the wrongdoing and specifies the class being represented.
  4. Certify the Class: The court must certify the class for the case to proceed as a class action. Certification requires proving that there are enough similarly affected individuals to make individual lawsuits impractical.
  5. Notify Potential Class Members: Once the class is certified, potential members are notified and given an opportunity to join the lawsuit or opt out.
  6. Litigation or Settlement: The case is either settled out of court or goes to trial. Settlements in class actions must be approved by the court as fair and adequate.

Mass Tort Claims

Mass tort claims involve numerous plaintiffs against one or several corporate defendants. They differ from class actions in that they are processed individually, giving each plaintiff their day in court, which can be vital when the injuries vary significantly among the plaintiffs. These claims often arise from defective products, pharmaceuticals, or large-scale environmental disasters.

Some examples of these claims include the Florida-based litigation against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which significantly impacted the Gulf Coast’s environment and economy, and lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for adverse effects of drugs that affected many Floridians differently.

Steps to Filing a Mass Tort Claim

Filing a mass tort claim is an involved process. A brief outline is as follows:

  1. Consult an Attorney: Due to the complexity of mass torts, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is crucial.
  2. Investigation: Your attorney will investigate to gather evidence supporting your claim, including medical records and expert testimonies.
  3. Filing the Lawsuit: A lawsuit is filed in a court that has jurisdiction over the case. Unlike class actions, each plaintiff may file individually but within a coordinated proceeding.
  4. Joining a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL): Often, mass torts are consolidated into a single federal court to streamline pretrial proceedings. This helps manage cases more efficiently while respecting their individuality.
  5. Trial or Settlement: Each case can go to trial individually, though many are settled out of court. Settlements reflect the specific damages suffered by each plaintiff.

How Damages Are Awarded in Class Action Vs. Mass Tort Claims in Florida

In class action lawsuits, damages are distributed among all plaintiffs based on agreed-upon criteria set forth in the settlement or judgment. Typically, these are uniform distributions, but they can be varied based on the severity of harm to individual class members.

In contrast, in mass tort litigation, damages are awarded individually. Each plaintiff may receive a different amount based on the specifics of their case, such as the extent of injury and the economic losses incurred. This individual assessment allows for more precise compensation reflective of each plaintiff’s circumstances.

Contact a Mass Tort & Class Action Lawyer Today

If you’re looking to file a class action suit of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact a Hillsborough County personal injury lawyer from Merricks Law Group today. We stand ready to effectively fight for the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.

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