What To Look For In A Personal Injury & Mass Torts Lawyer

Most mass tort cases typically originate from a study, or an analysis of studies, or articles from medical journals, or from the review of adverse event reports that the drug and device companies are required to maintain, which show that the drug or device in question is causing harm in a manner or to an extent not reasonably expected by the users of the drug or device.

For example, one prescription drug litigation that’s occurring now is for a drug called Elmiron, which is a drug that’s been sold since the 90s for a condition called interstitial cystitis, but which recent studies have concluded can cause a very serious eye condition that can lead to partial or full blindness, called pigmentary maculopathy. Similarly, a medical device called an IVC filter, short for inferior vena cava filter, which is used to break up blood clots in a patient’s blood stream and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, has provoked another mass tort litigation for injuries arising from the migration or fracturing or tilting of the device within patients’ bodies. These litigations, and most other drug or device mass torts, are based on articles or studies or opinions of medical experts that guide the decision of injury lawyers’ as to whether or not pursue claims for people alleging injury from these products.

Having satisfied themselves that a drug or medical device is defective and causing inordinate harm, the next step in the process is for the lawyers is to start gathering these cases. That’s when the radio, TV and internet ads start to run, to get the word out that…you guessed it…”if you’ve been injured by such-and-such a drug or medical device, you may be entitled to compensation”! Similarly, the lawyer websites are updated with information pertaining to the cases they want to gather – just in case someone out there is searching the internet or social media for such a lawyer.
As a practical matter, these advertisements are often the only way the general public becomes aware of problems with the products they’re using. The drug company may know, but it’s certainly not in their best interests to get the word out about problems. Doctors may start to see issues in their patients, but they’re often hesitant too busy to make the connection, or just reluctant to reveal to patients that the drug or medical device I gave you has caused you harm. The FDA has a role to play in alerting the general public to problems with drugs and devices, and can require label warnings and even withdraw drugs and devices from the market, but like all government agencies, they are overworked, underfunded, and not typically the first to realize that a product is causing harm in patients.

That leaves the job of informing the public to the lawyers, who are very efficient and effective at spreading the word, and in doing so, gathering clients. By this means, a few cases turn into hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands. Simply put, the more cases we lawyers can gather up and manage to successful conclusion, i.e., settle, the more money we can make. We may need to try a few cases along the way, we may win or lose a few of those cases, but in the end if the lawyers can reasonably well prove up their case, they can compel the drug or device company – usually kicking and screaming – into a settlement, then all the cases deserving of compensation get paid something, and the lawsuits go away, and the lawyers move on to the next litigation and opportunity to do justice and earn fees.


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