Bellwether trials are the first trials in mass torts.
Mass torts are collections of cases in which multiple plaintiffs were harmed in a similar way by the same defendants. Most mass tort cases involve plaintiffs alleging that defendants caused them physical injury or sickness.
Most mass tort cases are thus, technically, personal injury cases. These cases seek to recover financial compensation from defendants for the harm suffered by the plaintiffs.
If you think you may be eligible to file a mass tort lawsuit, you may have heard of bellwether trials. You may be wondering what happens after a bellwether trial. But first, you need to know exactly what a bellwether trial is.
In This Article
What Is a Bellwether Trial?
Bellwether trials are the first trials that are tried in mass torts. They are not, however, the first stage of a mass tort.
The first stage in a mass tort involves lawyers reviewing the records of potential plaintiffs. Lawyers will review records such as injury claims, plaintiff statements, and medical records to figure out if plaintiffs have legitimate injury claims and if numerous other plaintiffs have similar claims.
Once lawyers identify multiple plaintiffs with similar injury claims against the same defendants, lawyers will gather the evidence relating to each individual claim in order to build a single case against any defendants involved. This evidence must show the essential factual element of strict liability.
Once attorneys build a single case against the defendants using the totality of every plaintiff’s evidence, they file lawsuits in state court. All the individual lawsuits are filed together and combined into a mass tort for the sake of efficiency.
The bellwether trial stage occurs after mass tort lawsuits are filed. Bellwether trials are essentially test trials that create guidelines for how much mass tort cases are worth. They are essentially litmus tests for mass torts.
What Happens After a Bellwether Trial?
Bellwether trials have good predictive value as to how the rest of a mass tort will proceed.
When bellwether trials end in verdicts for the plaintiffs, they often establish a guideline for how much financial compensation future plaintiffs in the mass tort can expect. When bellwether trials end in defense verdicts, the rest of the mass tort cases may not proceed to trial.
Multiple bellwether trials are often necessary for mass torts. The goal of bellwether trials is to either establish a global settlement for all cases in a mass tort or to allow for the dismissal of the remainder of the lawsuits in a mass tort.
What typically happens when multiple bellwether trials end poorly for the defense is eventually, the defense realizes that it is unlikely to win any of the trials in the mass tort, and they get a good idea of how much money they’re going to have to owe each plaintiff. Once this occurs, the settlement stage usually begins.
During the settlement stage, the defense will offer the remainder of the plaintiffs in the mass tort a financial settlement out-of-court which compensates the plaintiffs for their injuries. The size of this settlement will depend heavily on the results of the preceding bellwether trials.
Once settlements are accepted by the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs receive unique settlements that depend on the particular damages suffered by each individual plaintiff.
How Long Does a Bellwether Trial Last?
Personal injury trials such as bellwether trials in mass torts can take anywhere from days to weeks or longer. How long these trials will last depends on the individual factors in each individual case.
Juries need to be selected first, then opening statements are given by the plaintiffs and the defense, then the plaintiff presents their case, then the defense defends its case.
One factor that influences how long bellwether trials last is the number of witnesses who are called for testimony. More witnesses mean a longer trial.
After each party presents its case, they must each present a closing argument. Juries meet and deliberate after closing arguments are presented, and then juries reach a verdict.
Can I Afford a Mass Tort Lawyer?
If you think you may qualify for a mass tort lawsuit, you may be wondering if you can afford a mass tort lawyer. Anybody can afford the experienced, expert mass tort lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen because we work on a contingency fee basis.
Contingency fee agreements are when you only pay us when we win your case. This win can consist of an out-of-court settlement or a court verdict. You don’t have to pay for our services if we don’t obtain financial compensation for you. It’s called a contingency fee agreement because our fees are contingent on us winning your case.
We don’t take a random amount if we win your case, either. We will take a percentage of the recovery as our fee if—and only if—we win your case.
Do I Need a Mass Tort Lawyer?
You need experienced mass tort lawyers in your corner if you want to be able to successfully take on the expensive lawyers that represent big corporations in mass torts.
We have been representing mass tort clients since 1990. In that time, we have recovered over $350,000,000 for our clients.
Common mass tort claims include claims regarding defective and dangerous products, drugs, and medical devices. We have extensive experience in proving that our clients’ injuries were caused by defective products, dangerous drugs, or dangerous medical devices.
Get a Free Consultation From Nadrich & Cohen
If you or a loved one has been harmed by another party’s negligence or by a defective product, you may qualify for financial compensation in a mass tort lawsuit.
Contact Nadrich & Cohen today for a free consultation or text us from this page. We can let you know if you are entitled to financial recovery in a mass tort lawsuit.
Let us put our decades of experience to work for you and help you obtain the largest possible financial recovery for your injuries. We don’t charge a fee until and unless we win your case.