Class Action Lawsuits vs. Mass Tort Lawsuits

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: October 19, 2016

Class Action Lawsuits vs. Mass Tort Lawsuits and Why It Matters

Personal Injury claims can come in many forms…

As we have discussed in prior posts, personal injury cases don’t just involve car crashes or dog bites or slip and falls…

The range can be confusing and… legally sticky shall we say?

Often times, our attorneys get this question:

Are class action suits and mass tort suits the same? What’s the difference?

Don’t worry – we won’t send you to law school – we aren’t here to punish!

Class Action Action Lawsuits

These suits fall under mass torts as a general type of injury – someone who has suffered damages.

Brought forth as an individual case, it is simply not large enough to reap any benefits for the individual (legally speaking)…

But compiled with other individual claims under the same or similar damages, a claim can be brought forth, often involving hundreds to thousands of people.

Great examples of class action lawsuits are:

Employee Class Actions – This may reflect a practice or pattern of discrimination on the employer’s’ end.

An example of this is the Robert Half Class Action lawsuit involving the unpaid overtime of 4,000 recruiters working for the global staffing company

Environmental Disaster Class Actions – This often involves a man made disaster that dramatically and/or devastatingly affects the natural environment and the people living in that environment.

An example of this is the massive oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico.

Manipulative Business Practices- This suit is self explanatory but a common example can involve a phone company and hidden fees on customer billing cycles as an example.

Mass Tort Lawsuits:

While class action suits involve a few thousand people and are generally confined to a specific geographical location, mass torts involve tens of thousands of people across the country.

Mass torts tend to involve:

Defective Products

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Medical Devices

While class action cases are generally “normal” legal cases, mass torts are inherently very complex and are handled differently in the legal world.




Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
Get in Touch
Free Case Evaluation
Please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

    Skip to content