A class-action lawsuit is when one or more people file a lawsuit on behalf of a much larger group of people known as the class. This group of people has a legal claim identical to or nearly identical to the previous group.
When dealing with enormous organizations with high-priced lawyers and a lot of money, there is usually strength in numbers. Many people who need to file a lawsuit against a huge corporation don’t have the time, legal resources, or financial means to do so. Class-action lawsuits enable you to file a lawsuit against a corporation with little to no work on your behalf.
However, while class-action lawsuits might be beneficial, they can also leave you with very little. While there is no cost to join a class-action case, you give up your opportunity to receive compensation on an individual basis. Joining a class action could cost you thousands or millions of dollars if your injuries are significantly worse than those of other plaintiffs in your class.
Benefits of Class-Action Lawsuits
Here are several benefits of class-action lawsuits:
- More effective for complicated cases with multiple victims
- More efficient compared to individual cases
- Increases your chances of settlement
- Provides time and levels playing field
- Make sure that companies get what they deserve.
How Does a Class-Action Lawsuit Work?
A class-action lawsuit aggregates multiple claims into one, making the procedure considerably easier and faster for everyone involved. A single judge will preside over a single courtroom. During a class-action lawsuit, the group of persons who have been damaged will appoint a lead plaintiff to file the complaint on behalf of the entire group. During the case, the lead plaintiff can collaborate with their lawyer and provide updates to the rest of the group.
The class representative allows the other parties to play a passive role in the case. This is also time-saving for the group’s lawyer, who will only have to contact the class representative throughout the case.
While there is no exact quantity required for a class-action lawsuit, it is challenging to organize a class with less than 20 members and gain certification. A class with a few dozen participants is desired, as it is more likely to get certified and progress.
What Options Do You Have?
After the court recognizes the case as a class-action lawsuit and/or a preliminary settlement is achieved, potential class members may be notified directly via mail, email, or advertisements. You can select whether or not you wish to participate in a class-action lawsuit if you are notified of one.
- You can join the class in exchange for your right to make a claim individually
- You can opt-out or choose not to be a part of it
The Process of Joining a Class-Action Lawsuit
Unless you opt-out, you will most likely be automatically enrolled in the class, and no more action will be required of you.
Throughout the class-action litigation, class members play a passive role. If the lawsuit is successful, all class members will get the same amount of compensation, regardless of the severity of their injuries.
When you join the class, you forgo your right to launch a separate case in exchange for compensation. Before opting to withdraw yourself from the class, consider an attorney if you have been affected significantly more than other customers.
What Does It Mean to Opt-Out?
To keep your ability to file your own case, you can opt-out of or not join a class-action lawsuit. If the class wins in court, you will not be compensated. Consult an attorney if your damages are much greater than those of the other members of the class to see if opting out would be beneficial.
Information Regarding Compensation
Instead of going to trial and having a judge impose compensation, class lawsuits frequently conclude in a settlement. However, after all parties involved have had the right to object to or appeal a settlement, the court must provide final approval.
According to the National Consumer Law Center, class members typically get reimbursement six to nine months after a settlement agreement is filed with the court for preliminary approval.
Although class-action lawsuits have many advantages, they do have certain limitations. It is overall a complicated process, and some cases can take years to get resolved. So consult a professional attorney to know if it is suitable for your case and then make a choice to save time and effort.