Mass Torts 101: Case Progress

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with our Mass Torts 101 series so far! We hope that our articles have been helpful in understanding the complex and confusing aspects of these litigations. This month, we are covering the progress of your case: how it moves along, what speed bumps you can expect to hit, and how long the entire process may take.

Throughout this series, we have tried to drill down to the specifics of each step in the process, but this month, we take a step back to see more pieces of the puzzle at once. As we’ve explained in previous articles, our firm works with you during the initial intake process to gather data and get you signed up as part of the litigation. At this point, there may be a short amount of time before the next step begins while our team processes your initial documents and you aren’t required to do anything unless we ask. After that processing is complete, we reach out about medical records, both to you and to the facilities listed on your paperwork. Here, progress stalls again on our end while we wait for our medical records partner, a third-party intermediary, to work with the facility and gather all the requested materials.

At this point in the process, all the documents that we need should be gathered: contract, questionnaire, medical and work records authorizations, and medical records are four major requirements for any complete mass torts claim. Now your file is passed to our medical team, and they review your medical records to assess the strength of your claim. This begins what is often the most frustrating section of the process for our clients, because it is at this point that they feel most out of control. You have done your part, gathering documents and patiently working with our team to gather all the necessary information. The initially busy process has become a waiting game, first waiting for our medical team to confirm your diagnosis, and then a potentially years-long wait to see if anything will come of your claim at all. It is also at this point that our team begins encouraging clients to wait longer between updates, knowing how frustrated others have been in the past by calling in regularly and receiving the same news: your case is good to go, we are just waiting to file or waiting for the courts to move forward.

The strange thing about mass torts is that due to the unique nature of each individual’s claim, a client who signed up only a few months ago may be at the same point in the process as someone who signed up more than two years ago. But it is actually our goal to get every one of our clients to that final plateau: all the information gathered and a case built, with all of the pressure on the courts and defense counsel to respond and move the litigation forward. Unfortunately, due to the court schedule and the often-stubborn nature of the defense, it is impossible to predict the full timeline of any one person’s mass torts case, which is why we don’t give a specific amount of time to expect. But those with experience in mass torts will tell you that these litigations regularly take more than 5 years, with the larger cases lasting closer to a decade. We know that is not what our clients want to hear, and we empathize. We would like the process expedited as well, so that those hurt by these companies may get a chance to use the compensation they deserve. But we continue to do our best in the system that exists, and we thank you for your patience as we continue to fight for justice.