A class action lawsuit is an important tool within our justice system. This type of suit ensures that when businesses harm many people through their actions, the burden of filing a lawsuit is not placed on each victim’s shoulders. Class action lawsuits allow the victims of a business’s actions to band together and pursue compensation through one lawsuit. They also enable those who have identified an injury and the liable party to represent those who have not realized their injury or who was at fault yet. Another benefit of a class action suit is efficiency for the court system, which would be overly burdened by handling dozens, hundreds, or thousands of similar cases. The many benefits of class actions are balanced somewhat by the complexities of bringing these types of cases.
Class Action FAQs
If you believe you have a class action claim, or have been contacted about a class action, here are a few things a class action lawyer would like you to know:
What is a class action lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits are appropriate when one or more businesses’ actions have harmed dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people. The harm may be significant, such as cancer caused by water and ground pollution. Or, the harm to each individual may be minor, such as improper billing that adds up to a few hundred dollars each year. Either way, the harm affects a group of people and not just one person.
What is the class?
The victimized population is known as the class. This is the group of individuals who were harmed by the defendant’s conduct. All of the members of the class must have the same or vastly similar injuries.
Who decides who is part of the class?
When a plaintiff and their attorneys believe they have a class action lawsuit, they will ask the judge to certify the class. This means to define who has been victimized by the defendant(s). The limits that define who is part of the class depend on the specific facts of the case. It may be individuals who purchased a certain product during a certain period, or individuals who worked for a business during a certain amount of time. The plaintiff’s attorneys will put forth suggested class parameters, and the judge will either agree or revise them.
Who is the plaintiff in a class action?
A class representative or lead plaintiff files the suit. For a class action to move forward, someone has to be the first to identify the harm and liable party. One of the first people to realize the injury may become the class representative, which is also known as the lead plaintiff. Or, once a firm has identified a potential class action and researched possible victims, the lead plaintiff may be someone who best represents the class or has the largest financial interest.
How do I find out about a class action lawsuit?
Class members must be notified of the lawsuit. Once a judge has certified a class, the next step is notification. The plaintiff’s attorneys are responsible for notifying potential class members of the lawsuit, which is usually accomplished through letters or emails. You also may see television commercials and hear radio ads, which allows potential class members to reach out to the plaintiff’s firm.
Do I have to be part of a class action lawsuit?
You have the option to be part of the suit or not. Many class members do not find out about a lawsuit until after it is filed, and the class is certified. After receiving notice, if you would like to be treated as a member of the class, you typically do not need to respond. Or, you can respond and opt-out of the lawsuit. You cannot be forced to participate in a class action.
Who pays for a class action lawsuit?
A very common question regarding class actions is who pays for the lawsuit. Often, the firm(s) that handles a class action takes on the burden of the initial costs. Once a settlement or court award is achieved, the firm deducts their costs from the award before it is divided among the class members.
Will I get part of a class action settlement?
If you are a member of the class and did not opt out, then you will receive a portion of the class action settlement or court award. However, do not expect to receive a significant sum. Many class actions result in a small amount of compensation for many people.
Have Questions About a Class Action? Contact The Law Giant
If you have any questions about bringing a class action or being involved in a class, do not hesitate to call Begum Law Group at (866) 523-4167. To learn more and schedule a consultation with a class action lawyer, contact us today.