Class action lawsuits are lawsuits that various people come together and file against a person, organization, institution, company, or any entity recognized under the law. The people need not be related in any way to come together and sue. When it can be established that various people have suffered some form of damage from the defendant, class action lawsuits are upheld and valid for the purposes of the trial. However, it’s not just different people coming together. Here are six things you must know when you are going for a class action lawsuit.
The Secret Is in the Number of People Filing Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits allow a small number of people to file a motion and sue companies and other institutions or organizations in favor of everyone affected. These kinds of lawsuits, which usually involve fraud or wrongdoing on their part, do not require you to participate in the court proceeding physically.
If the company is found guilty, and you are one of the people that have suffered, you are likely to get your compensation when you reach out to the appropriate parties either during or after the trial or even after the negotiation deals are finished.
Lawsuits Don’t Mean a Windfall of Money
Such lawsuits usually involve a lot more people than you can imagine. As such, the amount agreed to be paid would drastically be reduced upon getting distributed among all the plaintiffs and other people that stake their claim.
For example, of a 1 million settlement due that was awarded, lawyer’s fees would probably be around $400,000. That leaves just $600,000, and if there are over 1000 people, this $600,000 becomes just $600 per person. In reality, this sum is even further reduced due to much larger people making claims and various other costs deducted from the same settlement amount.
How to Join a Class Action Lawsuit
Potential class members are brought in on the class action by advertising the court case after the court agrees it is a class action lawsuit. Or they may also do the same after a preliminary settlement is reached. Thus, it is necessary to be aware of all the current affairs in your state and country, and you just might be able to claim something. If the lawyers are willing, you could also be invited to join in person, depending on the severity of the issue.
You Can Always Claim More
For most class action lawsuits, you will automatically be included unless you opt-out. Being included means you will receive compensation regardless of any effort you make towards the case.
However, being included in a class-action lawsuit also waives you the right to file a separate lawsuit on the same issue. As tempting as a class action lawsuit sounds, it is always advisable to talk to a lawyer and know all your options before joining. If you feel you have been damaged more than the others, you can claim your own lawsuit and try your case separately alongside the class action.
Never Make Plans Before You Receive the Money
Unless the defendant feels that it is futile to pay for court or suffer from the bad publicity of the lawsuit, it is usually the case that they use every avenue of the court system to escape the settlement. This makes it extremely difficult to predict when you will receive your money or even if you will. Any settlement needs to be approved by the court, and even after that, it can take up to 6 to 9 months for the money to start coming into your pockets.
If the settlement is not reached and the court awards the settlement award, the defendant has the right to appeal this judgment several times. As such, it would take much longer than the earlier 6 to 9 months.
Always Take the Money
Even if you feel your damages are not worth claiming a case or compensation, just take the money and donate it to a charity. Otherwise, it would go to someone else unnecessarily. Or the company could donate it to a charity and claim a tax deduction. Any compensation you receive, in most cases, is taxable income. But if you donate it all to charity and thereby itemize it then, you can claim tax deductions and save it for later.
So, this was all about class action lawsuits. However, there is a lot more to them. To get more information and seek assistance, contact us today.