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Your injuries may be an example of many others’ experiences. By contacting a Texas personal injury attorney right away, you could be in the position to begin a class action lawsuit or to join an existing action. The only way to determine if you are one of many people similarly hurt is to speak with an experienced attorney.

At The Law Giant, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, we have decades of experience handling class action and mass tort claims. We will thoroughly review your circumstances, investigate the conduct that caused you harm, and advise you of whether you may be part of a potential class action or mass tort claim. To learn more, call The Law Giant at 866-523-4167 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Types of Class Action & Mass Torts

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What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is a legal action brought by one individual, or a small group on behalf of a larger group, who have all suffered the same or a very similar injury. The lawsuit is brought against one or several defendants who are allegedly responsible for wide-spread harm.

In other words, a class action is one lawsuit, brought by a class representative for dozens, hundreds, or possibly thousands of injured people, known as the class.

Specifically, the class representative is the plaintiff, which again, can be one person or a few.

The class is the entire group of people who have been similarly harmed by the defendant’s alleged conduct. Classes do not have to be a certain size. They could be as small as a couple of dozen individuals or, technically, millions of people.

Class actions let Texans band together to pursue justice.
3 3 %

of class actions successfully reach a settlement and virtually zero go to trial.

Notable Results

Our Texas injury lawyers have the experience, knowledge, and skills that are necessary to ensure your rights remain protected throughout the entire personal injury claims process.

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Product Defect Claim

Auto Product Defect

Common Reasons for Class Action Lawsuits

A class action suit can arise due to all types of harmful conduct. However, certain issues tend to lead to class actions more than others, including:

  • Dangerous drugs or medical devices
  • Defective vehicles and auto parts
  • Other defective products
  • Environmental regulation violations
  • Employee/independent contractor misclassification
  • Wage, hour, and overtime violations
  • Sexual harassment
  • Other unlawful employment practices
  • Civil rights violations
  • Unfair/deceptive business practices
  • Predatory lending practices
  • Unlawful debt collection practices
  • Consumer fraud
  • Securities fraud

Your Involvement With a Class Action

You can be involved with a class action in various ways. If you are one of the first people to realize the harm caused by the defendant, then you may be a class representative. This involves being part of filing the class action suit and remaining actively engaged in the process.

If you believe you were harmed by a company, and think a lot of other people have probably suffered the same physical or financial injury, call our class action lawyers at The Law Giant, Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers right away. Class action lawsuits are different than individual cases. You will need an attorney experienced in bringing a class action to investigate the circumstances and analyze whether you are likely to have a court approve this type of matter.

You also may be passively involved in a class action. If you are part of the class of people who have been harmed by the defendant, you will receive an email or letter telling you about the case. You then have the option to opt-in or opt-out of the case.

If you opt-out of a class action lawsuit, you will not be involved in any way. You do not have any claim to a potential class action settlement. If the class representative is successful, you will not receive any compensation.

If you opt-in to the lawsuit, you still do not have to participate in the court case. However, if the class representative is successful, you may recover compensation. Usually, to opt-in to a class action, you don’t have to do anything. Not replying to the notification is regularly seen as consent.

Your first thought may be to opt-in. However, there are advantages to opting out. When you opt-in to a class action, you cannot sue the defendant on your own. If you opt-out, then you retain the right to file an individual lawsuit. This can be important if you believe you were more severely harmed than other members of the class.

The Benefits of a Class Action Suit

You may wonder why you or someone else would bring a class action on behalf of a lot of people instead of simply filing your own lawsuit. One reason is that the injuries involved in class action lawsuits are often relatively minor. For example, a company’s deceptive business practice may have led to a financial loss. Yet, you may only have lost out on a few hundred dollars. This injury is not worth spending the time and money on a lawsuit, and other people similarly injured may feel the same way. You cannot all afford to file your own lawsuits.

However, if you all lost out on hundreds of dollars because of the company’s deceptive practices, then this can add up quickly. If 5,000 people around the U.S. each lost between $300 and $500, then this amounts to millions of dollars. If you can all band together, a lawsuit is certainly worth it, especially because it could force the company to change its practices.

Another benefit of a class action is that the class only has to prove their injury and the defendant’s unlawful conduct once. Instead of each injured person having the burden of proof in court, the class representative and their class action attorney tackle the burden one time.

This also is much more efficient for the court system, which would be overly burdened by dozens, hundreds, or thousands of similar cases.

Bringing a Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit is not the same as an individual legal claim. Bringing a class action requires going through a specific legal process.

Class actions can be brought under Texas law, in a Texas court, or they can be brought in a federal court. Because most classes have individuals located throughout the country, a majority of class actions are brought in federal court under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. If you bring a class action in Texas, you must abide by Rule 42 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

Once you file a class action lawsuit, the next step is to ask a judge to certify the class. The class representative and their class action lawsuit lawyers must demonstrate to the judge that the injured individuals’ situations have the same or very similar facts. Also, the representative must show that it would be impractical for each member of the class to file their own lawsuits. It would be inefficient for the courts, and the class members’ harms may be too small—in terms of compensation—to merit the cost of individual litigation.

If the judge certifies the class, the judge also defines the scope of the class. The scope ultimately determines who is and is not part of the class.

The next step is class notification. All of the individuals who may fit into the scope of the class need to be told about the lawsuit and given the option to opt-in or out. Notification is often through letters and emails. However, to reach a broader range of people, it may also be commercials on TV or the radio.

After the class certification and notification, a class action lawsuit proceeds like any other lawsuit until there is a settlement or verdict. Once the court has a potential resolution, the class representative’s class action lawyers also must present a plan to ensure class members receive their portion of the compensation.

Class Action Settlements

Class action settlements can be significant. However, the individual recoveries sent to class members will be divided among the group and vary depending on several factors.

Class action lawsuits are typically paid for out of the settlement or jury award. Once the case is resolved, the legal fees will be deducted. Next, the compensation must be distributed to all of the class members. How much each member receives depends on the circumstances. Each member may receive the same percentage of compensation. Or, certain class members who were more seriously harmed may receive more.

Mass Torts v. Class Actions

If you are looking into class action lawsuits, then undoubtedly you have seen reference to mass torts. You may think it is another term for the same type of lawsuit. However, mass torts and class actions are different. They have some similarities, but the terms are not interchangeable.

Mass torts are typically made up of individual lawsuits against one or a group of the same defendants. The plaintiffs, who all have their own lawsuits, claim that the same defendant(s) caused all of them harm through the same or very similar circumstances. For example, dozens or hundreds of individuals may each file lawsuits against a medical device manufacturer claiming that the defective device caused them significant harm.

However, mass torts also may include plaintiffs filing claims against different defendants based on similar products or services. For example, plaintiffs may sue different automakers in regard to similar issues with defective airbags.

Issues that commonly lead to mass tort claims include:

  • Dangerous drugs and medical devices
  • Defective products
  • Transportation disasters
  • Environmental disasters
  • Exposure to toxic substances, like asbestos

What makes mass torts unique compared to many similar lawsuits is that mass tort claims typically lead to pooled resources. One or a few law firms will often take on multiple plaintiffs. This ensures one or a few firms do all the legwork to gather and analyze evidence instead of dozens of firms having to do this work. Only one firm or a team of firms have to lead the way on an in-depth investigation.

Also, mass torts are consolidated in the court system. These similar cases, though they move forward individually, are consolidated in one or a few jurisdictions around the country. This enables a few jurisdictions to become familiar with the cases and handle them as efficiently as possible.