Class Action vs. Individual Product Liability Claims
Product liability claims are handled in several different ways, depending upon the circumstances. You have probably heard of class action lawsuits. These are cases where a group of people get together and sue as a class. This is done when they have a claim that is more similar than dissimilar. For instance, if a particular pharmaceutical product ended up causing a specific side effect that wasn't disclosed, these cases may be lumped together and heard at once. This is a time and money saving measure and it doesn't diminish what the victims get out of the claim, if it wins.
There are also individual lawsuits filed for product liability claims. The above example, using pharmaceuticals for the product, is also a good one here. If some claimants had suffered one side effect from the drug, a loss of clear vision, for example, and the others had suffered a different side effect, such as developing migraine headaches, they wouldn't be able to sue as a class.
Drug manufacturers oftentimes get sued under class actions. For instance, the manufactures of parts for pacemakers have sometimes released flawed products and, because their victims were all heart patients with the same risks, these cases have been filed as class actions at times. Whether it’s the DePuy hip replacements claims, the suits over Paxil and Accutane or anything else, product liability law is flexible enough to accommodate all claims, whether there are only 10 or more than 10,000 claimants who need to be heard.