Navigating the world of personal injury claims can be difficult, especially for people who aren’t familiar with the terminology used in these types of cases. To give plaintiffs a little help, here are a few common terms which personal injury attorneys come across often in their cases.
A class action is a type of lawsuit where a large number of plaintiffs collectively bring their personal injury claims or other claims to court, instead of each bringing their case to court individually. It could also refer to a suit in which there are multiple groups of defendants. The recent Lipitor Class Action is one example. The personal injury attorneys who handled the case represented all of the plaintiffs, and the verdict applies to all of them. Often, class actions are brought to court by consumer organizations, such as AARP, or the Center for Auto Safety, on behalf of large groups of consumers.
When large numbers of plaintiffs file similar suits, a judge will often order a few bellwether trials to take place. These are individual trials of personal injury claims that could give the rest of the plaintiffs leverage in resolving their issues with the defendant. If each bellwether trial is decided in favor of the plaintiff, then the personal injury attorneys for the rest of the plaintiffs have more leverage against the defendant. This will often lead to swifter resolutions and settlements. Recently, the bellwether trials for the Fosamax cases received mixed verdicts, which failed to inspire the defendant, Merck, to push for a settlement. As a result, the Fosamax trials could continue for several more years before all plaintiffs have had their day in court.
Lone Pine Order
Lone Pine Orders are issued in mass toxic tort cases, where the plaintiff in the personal injury claim asserts that exposure to a chemical or substance caused them injury or disease. A Lone Pine Order requires a plaintiff to:
• Identify the substance
• Show the specific disease or injury the substance caused
• Show that exposure to the substance caused the injury
Some Lone Pine Orders can also require more specific evidence, like the amount of the substance the plaintiff was exposed to, expert medical opinions, and specific dates of the exposure. The order gets its name from Lore v. Lone Pine Corp., during which plaintiffs were asked to provide this evidence early in the trial in order to avoid wasting time and money on a lengthy trial if personal injury attorneys could not prove any wrong-doing.
While researching common personal injury claims terms can help plaintiffs get a better understanding of their case, it’s always better to speak with a personal injury attorney, such as Parilman and Associates, to help guide you through the process and give you a fighting chance.