Medical debt is a growing problem in the United States. Around 6% of Americans owe over $1,000 in medical debt and one in four have at least some.
We covered some ways that people can address medical debts. One option is to get compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
When you have been injured in an accident, you are going to need to consider filing a lawsuit. Many people use funds from personal injury lawsuits to cover their medical costs.
There are a lot of nuances that you have to be aware of when you are seeking compensation from the other party after suffering an accident. One thing that you have to be aware of is the concept of mass tort claims. If many other people have been injured, then this can be an avenue that you want to consider. However, you need do know how long they will take, especially if you need the funds from the lawsuit to cover your legal bills.
Know How Long Mass Tort Claims Will Take When You Need to Pay Medical Bills
Mass tort claims are legal actions that involve numerous plaintiffs against one or a few corporate defendants in state or federal court. These claims are typically pursued when multiple individuals are harmed by defective products, pharmaceuticals, or large-scale accidents.
According to LawsuitLegalNews.com, the process and timeline for these claims can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case, the number of plaintiffs, the nature of the harm, and the specific legal strategies employed.
It’s crucial to note that mass tort claims are not short-term legal procedures. Depending on the specific circumstances of the claim, they can range from several months to many years before a resolution is reached.
There are numerous factors that can influence the duration of a mass tort claim. Read on to know more.
Factors Affecting Duration of Mass Tort Claims
Investigation and Gathering of Evidence: This is the preliminary phase of the lawsuit. It involves extensive research, collecting evidence, interviewing the plaintiffs, and establishing the basis of the case. The length of this phase can vary depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the number of plaintiffs.
Filing of the Lawsuit and Preliminary Motions: Once the investigation phase is complete, the lawsuit is filed. This can also include pre-trial motions such as motions to dismiss, or for summary judgement, that can potentially shorten or lengthen the process.
Discovery Process: One of the most time-consuming phases of any lawsuit is discovery. Both sides exchange information and evidence relevant to the case. In mass tort claims, this process can be particularly lengthy due to the high volume of evidence, documents, depositions, and witness testimonies.
Negotiation and Settlement Talks: Mass tort claims often result in settlement discussions before going to trial. This process can be lengthy, involving various rounds of negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
Trial and Appeal: If a settlement isn’t reached, the case goes to trial, which can last several weeks or even months. After the trial, either party can appeal the decision, extending the timeline even further.
How Long Does a Mass Tort Claim Usually Last?
Given the aforementioned factors, it is challenging to pinpoint an exact timeframe for a mass tort claim. In some relatively straightforward cases, where the defendant is willing to settle, a mass tort claim can conclude within a year or two.
However, in more complex cases with numerous plaintiffs and substantial evidentiary matters, these lawsuits can take several years, sometimes even a decade or more, to reach a resolution.
For instance, the litigation involving asbestos-related claims has spanned multiple decades and is still ongoing in many jurisdictions.
One noteworthy point is that the timeframe for mass tort claims can sometimes be longer than individual tort claims. This is due to the scale of these cases, which can involve hundreds or even thousands of plaintiffs.
The legal process must address the individual circumstances and injuries of each plaintiff, which inherently requires more time.
Moreover, the specific nature of the mass tort claim also influences the timeline. For example, claims involving pharmaceutical drugs may require extensive scientific evidence and expert testimonies to establish causation between the drug and the harm, which can prolong the process.
Statute of Limitations in Mass Tort Claims
Another critical aspect that influences the duration of mass tort claims is the statute of limitations. This refers to the time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed. The statute of limitations can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the type of harm suffered. For instance, personal injury cases may have a different statute of limitations compared to product liability cases.
Understanding and properly managing the statute of limitations is crucial in a mass tort claim because it typically starts when the harm was or should have been discovered. This can sometimes be a complex determination, particularly in mass tort claims involving latent diseases or harm caused by pharmaceutical drugs, where the injury or illness may not manifest until years after exposure.
In some cases, the statute of limitations can be “tolled” or paused. This could be due to various factors such as ongoing negotiations, class action certification, or when the harm is not discovered until much later. This adds an additional layer of complexity to the timeline of a mass tort claim.
Finally, the duration of mass tort claims is also influenced by the dynamics between the parties, the efficiency of the legal teams involved, and the handling of the case by the court system. All these elements can contribute to either speeding up or slowing down the process, further demonstrating the variable and often unpredictable nature of mass tort litigation.
Understand the Timeframe for Mass Tort Lawsuits After a Major Injury
In conclusion, while it’s difficult to give a definitive timeframe for mass tort injury claims due to the variables involved, it’s important for plaintiffs to understand that these claims are typically a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a significant amount of patience, resilience, and determination to navigate through the labyrinthine legal process. Therefore, having experienced legal counsel who understands the nuances of mass tort litigation can be an invaluable asset, providing guidance and support throughout the arduous journey to achieving justice.
These tips will help you get compensation to cover medical bills after a major injury.