That depends on the specific drug or device that injured you. Oftentimes these cases are called a mass tort. That means a single defendant, pharmaceutical company or medical device manufacture has injured a large number of people.
Importantly, mass torts are different than class actions. Consider this: you were driving your car and were struck by a drunk driver who ran a red light. We would prove the negligence of the drunk driver and also prove the extent of your damages or injuries. But now let’s say you were a passenger on a bus that was struck by a drunk driver who ran a red light. Well, all the passengers of the bus could join together to prove the drunk driver ran the red light but each would need to prove the extent of their own injuries.
Mass tort claims are like having hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of passengers on the bus. Instead of the fairly easy matter of proving that the drunk driver ran the red light, the injured “passengers,” with the help of lawyers, combine forces and go after the driver. It often costs millions of dollars to hire experts and conduct investigations. That is more than any one claimant or their attorney could manage independently.
Proving negligence is a joint process between a number of people just like you. But you’re compensation, settlement, or award, will be based on the injuries which you – and only you – received.