Augusta Mass Tort Attorney
If you suffered injuries, you may not be alone. Sometimes, one thing can injure many people—and when that happens, they can join or form a mass tort. Here, people can pool their resources and hold multi-million-dollar corporations responsible for their damages.
The Hawk Firm has an Augusta mass tort attorney with the knowledge and experience necessary to handle your claim. We review these cases and represent clients in class actions, product liability lawsuits, multidistrict litigation, and more. Contact us today to discuss possible solutions with our team.
Table of Contents
- Our Augusta Mass Tort Lawyers Can Manage Your Legal Case
- Recovering Damages in an Augusta Mass Tort Case
- What Are Mass Torts, and How Do Our Attorneys in Augusta Help?
- Lawsuits and MDLs and Class Actions—What’s the Difference?
The Hawk Firm: Your Augusta Mass Tort Lawyers
Mass torts are a specific area of injury law requiring attorneys to have certain insights. Navigating these cases differs from filing individual claims or lawsuits in several ways.
Our team of Augusta trial lawyers can help when:
- You believe you qualify to join a mass tort already underway.
- You wonder if others suffered injuries because of the same issue.
- There are others already pursuing cases for the same reason.
Our team can assess your options during a free case review and investigate the possibility of a mass tort. We aim to ensure every client feels confident in our abilities and are empowered to participate in their own case. We often recover compensation for our clients through insurance claims, lawsuits, or other legal actions.
The Hawk Firm founder Jacque Hawk has more than 35 years of experience representing injured clients in Augusta and throughout the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). The firm name is among the most-recognized personal injury firms in the area, thanks to its success.
Our team fights to protect our clients’ rights and recover compensation for them. We believe in justice and holding negligent parties accountable. We are also a contingency-fee law firm. We never charge by the hour or ask for a retainer. Our attorney’s fees come from the funds we recover for our clients.
Our Augusta Mass Tort Lawyers Can Manage Your Legal Case
When you contact our team about a possible mass tort, we can take several steps, depending on the circumstances. This is part of determining your options and our strategy to manage your case.
These steps include:
- Searching for a lawsuit already underway
- Identifying others with injuries from the same product or issue
Depending on what happens, we could take steps that include:
- Joining a mass tort already in progress
- Building a mass tort for victims
- Proceeding with an individual claim or lawsuit
Even when we work with others to prove the case against the defendant, we need evidence to support your individual claim. This requires us to identify what happened and what damages you suffered.
Necessary evidence in your case could include:
- Any official reports filed by first responders
- Your relevant medical records
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Surveys of the scene, if they exist
- Other documentation of the circumstances
- Proof of your damages, including medical bills and receipts
This evidence serves as support for your insurance claim or lawsuit. All injured parties work together in a mass tort to show why the accused company or entity has liability for their damages. This could require investigating, gathering evidence, and calling in experts to better understand what occurred.
Recovering Damages in an Augusta Mass Tort Case
Mass torts treat claimants’ cases separately, even though they build the case against the liable party together. This means each individual still seeks compensation based on their unique expenses and losses. When representing clients in these claims, we document their recoverable damages and estimate a possible settlement range.
Our client’s expenses and losses will depend greatly on the circumstances, their injuries, and other factors.
Some recoverable damages in these cases could include:
- Medical bills and related expenses
- Future and ongoing care costs
- Loss of income while they could not work
- Reduced earning ability if they cannot return to work
- Property damages
- Miscellaneous-related expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other intangible losses, such as scarring or disability
- Wrongful death damages, per Georgia law
Many mass torts end in a global or tiered settlement. When this occurs, the plaintiffs split the money based on their damages or the severity of their injuries. If this is a possibility in your case, we can explain what this means and how much you could receive. There could be additional options if you choose not to accept a settlement, too.
What Are Mass Torts, and How Do Our Attorneys in Augusta Help?
Mass torts arise when multiple parties suffer injuries because of the same issue. The defendants in these lawsuits are often large companies. For example, when a corporation manufactures a defective product, many consumers who buy that product could suffer injuries.
In some cases, taking on a huge corporation on your own might not be practical. When all claimants work together and share the legal costs, it is more feasible to hold the company accountable.
Some examples of companies that could face a mass tort include:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Medical device manufacturers
- Airlines, railroads, and other transportation companies
- Vehicle or vehicle part manufacturers
- Appliance, tool, or electronics manufacturers
- Toy companies
- Manufacturers of cosmetics and other beauty products
Many of the injuries that support mass torts result from product liability. Dangerous and defective items can occur in almost any industry, although the risks are substantially higher for severe injuries in some types of products than others.
What Are Some Examples of Mass Torts?
Plaintiffs file and join countless mass torts each year. Sometimes, these cases settle before going to court. Other times, they go to trial and unfold for quite some time.
Some examples of well-known mass torts involve(d):
- Defective medications, including Xeralto, Risperdal, Effexor, and others
- Dangerous medical devices, including Mirena IUD, hernia mesh, vaginal mesh, and hip replacements (such as Biomet, DePuy, and Styker)
- Dangerous herbicides, including glyphosate (RoundUp) and paraquat
- Deadly Takata airbags
Georgia law recognizes strict liability for dangerous and defective consumer products. The manufacturer, designer, or distributor is legally liable for injuries caused by their products without the consumer having to prove when or how negligence occurred. This is possible under three circumstances:
When a product has a defective design, the product will always be unsafe. The basic design is dangerous, and this creates a potential risk for all users of the product. For example, you often hear about lawn darts as an example of a dangerous toy. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned them in the United States in 1988 because their design led to injuries and even deaths.
When there is a problem with a product that occurred during its production, this is a manufacturing defect. This could occur because of the materials, process, or other issues on the production line. Manufacturing defects are often the cause of tire recalls, such as when a problem with the rubber compound, bead, or tread leads to road failures.
Marketing defects often occur because of inadequate instructions, inaccurate labels, or missing warnings. Manufacturers often recall medications because of missing warnings. Sometimes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires they add a warning to a medication or medical device. If a product manufacturer fails to teach consumers to use the product safely or does not warn them of the risks, this could support a mass tort.
Examples of Mass Tort Cases That Don’t Involve Dangerous Products
In addition to product liability torts, we also handle other types of mass torts. Examples include:
Mass Disaster Cases
Disasters that cause injuries or property damage to many people often support mass torts.
These cases could arise from:
- A natural disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina
- A plane crash or train collision
- A man-made disaster, such as oil spills
- Other disasters, such as fires or building collapses
Mass Toxic Exposure Cases
Mass toxic exposure cases generally stem from a release of harmful chemicals or a substance dumped in a water supply. The plaintiffs are often residents of the same geographical area. These mass torts seek to prove that exposure to a certain substance caused the injuries suffered.
One well-known example of this type of tort is the groundwater contamination case against Pacific Gas & Electric Company, which served as the basis for the hit movie Erin Brockovich.
Lawsuits and MDLs and Class Actions—What’s the Difference?
During your research, you may have confronted some legalese—or specialized legal terms that are hard to understand. It’s important that you understand the basics of a mass tort so you can make informed legal decisions. We’ve broken down these three terms that may relate to your situation:
In some cases, those hurt by a defective product choose to move their case through the court system as an individual lawsuit. In others, they could try to resolve the case through an insurance claim and negotiations. Harm caused by a dangerous product, mass injury event, or other issue does not always support mass litigation, or victims opt to pursue compensation outside of it.
There are pros and cons to this approach. It is more common when there are fewer victims and less common with larger groups where hundreds or thousands of people suffered injuries because of the same negligent party.
Multidistrict litigation, or MDL, is one of the most common ways the courts deal with mass torts. When there are many similar cases filed, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation reviews them to determine if an MDL will help. If they believe an MDL is a good option, they consolidate the cases under a single judge in a district court.
This judge oversees the cases for:
- Pretrial motions
- Several bellwether trials
During the bellwether trials, the judge and jury hear several cases representative of the group or certain groups among the plaintiffs. The outcome of these trials does not directly affect the other lawsuits. However, it sometimes triggers the plaintiffs to drop their case or the defendant to offer individual, tiered, or global settlements to the injured parties.
After the bellwether trials, those who have not resolved their lawsuits can return to their original jurisdiction to go to trial. Many resolve during the MDL process.
Class action lawsuits are not a type of mass tort, although they deal with many people hurt by the same liable party. Class action lawsuits only occur when the victims have very similar injuries or damages. The courts will not compensate class members fairly if they have dramatically different damages.
Class action lawsuits require the courts to certify the group of plaintiffs—and others not yet identified but who suffered the same damages—into a class. The lawyers managing the class action then build a case against the liable party and seek compensation to be split by all class members.
Talk to a Team Member About Your Augusta Mass Tort Case for Free
Speak to a team member from The Hawk Firm today about the legal solutions available in your case. You have options for pursuing compensation for your injuries, expenses, and losses. Our team can assess these options and explain a suitable approach. We can help you join a mass tort already in progress, build one, or take individual action on your behalf. For more information, reach out to an Augusta personal injury lawyer.
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“Best Law Firm in the CSRA! Thank you Hawk Firm for handling all of my legal needs with outstanding professionalism! Highly recommend The Hawk Firm to anyone in need of legal services!” -Rob W.