A class action is a process for resolving lawsuits where multiple plaintiffs have experienced the same or similar injuries from a defendant, and is appropriate in many cases where a group of people are injured in the same event, such as when an automobile collides with a bus, or when a defective product enters the marketplace. Particularly when dealing with a defective product, these injuries may extend into the hundreds or even thousands before the product is removed from the marketplace. Rather than forcing the defendant to litigate the same claims over and over again, or clogging up the courts with multiple lawsuits, all of these cases can be combined into one class action and resolved in one trial. Class actions are time and resource-intensive endeavors, requiring a great deal of work on the part of the legal team. Even though the factual and legal issues of each separate case are similar in a class action, the litigation is still quite complex compared to a case involving a single plaintiff and a single defendant arising out of a single incident.
In most cases, potential members of the class are notified of the pending lawsuit and given the opportunity to opt out of the class action, meaning that they will receive no part of the settlement, but they retain the right to sue on their own. Those that sue on their own, however, have to go through the time, effort, and expense of a lawsuit, usually against a much larger party with superior financial resources. To join the class action on the other hand, the member must only wait for his or her share of the settlement. While the class action is a boon for the efficient administration of justice, it is not always the best choice for an injured individual. If your particular injuries are more serious than those of the average class member, your share of the settlement may not fully compensate you for the damages you have suffered. In fact, the amount an injured plaintiff receives in a class action settlement may only be a fraction of what he or she would receive if victorious in a single-plaintiff lawsuit. Additionally, the particular facts and circumstances of your case may make it more advantageous to file your own lawsuit. These matters should be discussed with a qualified attorney before accepting or rejecting membership in a class action lawsuit.
Our attorneys can help you evaluate your case and determine whether you should join a class action or opt out and file your own lawsuit. Where a class action is appropriate, we can work to have a class certified and litigate the case with you as lead plaintiff. If you have received notice of a proposed class action, or have been injured in an accident that may involve multiple plaintiffs, contact our office for a free consultation to discuss how best to proceed. More Information on this website