Joining a class action lawsuit should not cost you anything in most cases. The only plaintiff who may have out-of-pocket expenses in class action litigation is the class representative, and even this is rare.
Who Is the Class Representative? Why Would He Need to Pay Anything in a Class Action?
The class representative is the victim who hires the legal team and files the lawsuit. His legal team then asks the court to certify the case, and builds a class of plaintiffs who also suffered damages in the same way.
The class representative stands for the other class members in court and settlement negotiations, and may occasionally have to pay some fees related to the case. However, the class representative will receive reimbursement for these fees once the case settles. Often, the attorneys will cover these costs, and no plaintiff (class representative or not) will pay a dime until the court awards a payout. In this case, the attorneys will include these costs in their fees they deduct at the end of the case.
If you believe you have a case and others may share the same type of injury, give us a call right away. We can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of serving as a class representative and whether you might be best served simply opting in to the class action.
If you saw a commercial, poster, or other information about a class action case, a class representative may already be in place. We can help you join the class action lawsuit free of charge, or offer a complimentary consultation to determine if this is the best option for getting the compensation you deserve.
How Do Plaintiffs Pay Attorneys’ Fees in A Class Action Lawsuit?
In most class action cases, the court determines how to pay the court costs and attorneys’ fees. Usually, the attorneys receive a percentage of the total compensation awarded to members of the class. They also take any expenses they incurred from this fund before dividing it among the class members. In this way, all plaintiffs pay for legal fees in the case, but they share the costs.
Occasionally, the judge will rule that the defendant must pay the legal fees for the class. This is common when the damages are relatively small, and there may not be enough in the fund to cover all court costs and attorneys’ fees. If the plaintiffs do not win a class action lawsuit, their attorneys walk away without compensation in most cases. This is known as working on a contingency basis.
What Can I Expect to Recover from a Class Action?
What you can expect to recover depends on the injuries you suffered, the number of people in the class, and the company’s worth. If 5,000 plaintiffs sue a relatively small company, you might only receive a few dollars each. By discussing your case and your expectations with a lawyer before opting in to a class action, you will know what to expect when it comes to potential fees and settlement awards.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Joining a Class Action?
Yes. While joining a class action lawsuit will not cost you a dime upfront, you give up your right to recover compensation individually. If your injuries are substantially worse than other plaintiffs in your class, joining a class action could end up costing you thousands or millions down the road.
For this reason, you should always discuss whether you should join a class action or mass tort with a qualified attorney.
How Can I Talk About My Claim with a Class Action Lawyer?
If you are considering joining a class action lawsuit but have questions or concerns about the process or any potential fees, call a skilled class action attorney from Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. today at 631-600-0000. We offer complimentary consultations to help you understand whether joining a class action is right for you. And remember, we work on a contingency basis which means we receive no payment until you do.