A class action lawsuit allows a large group of victims (a “class”) who all suffered similar injuries to pursue compensation simultaneously. To qualify for a class action, these similar injuries must result from the same product, device, or drug manufactured or sold by the same defendant.
For example, if a popular medication causes users to develop asthma-related symptoms, these users may file a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer who failed to warn them of this possibility and continued to market the medication without proper warnings even after users fell ill.
What Types of Cases Can Support a Class Action Claim?
Almost any type of tort claim can turn into a class action lawsuit if enough victims suffered similar injuries. These claims often include defective consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and tires or car parts. Other common types of cases that turn into class action suits include employment law cases, corporate misconduct, fraud, and securities fraud.
If a group of victims suffered injuries in the same incident or the same type of incident but suffered drastically different injuries, we may instead suggest pursuing a “mass tort” action.
Mass tort litigation is somewhat similar to class action, but has important differences that make it appropriate when the victims have varying severity of injuries. This may occur in a plane crash, public transportation accident, defective product actions, and incidents involving medical devices or equipment.
What Are the Benefits of a Class Action Lawsuit?
There are a few reasons injured parties might opt to file a class action lawsuit instead of an individual case against the at-fault party. These include:
Victims Have Minor Injuries
In some cases, the victims of a defective product or fraudulent scheme did not suffer serious damages. In a case where the victim might expect to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars, it is worth it to have an attorney fully investigate the case and file individually, if necessary.
If the value of a claimant’s damages is only a few hundred dollars (or even less), though, litigation does not make sense. A class action lawsuit allows victims to hold the responsible party liable, despite only suffering minor injuries.
It Makes the Process Easier and More Affordable
When you participate in a class action suit, you consolidate attorneys, investigation, collection of evidence, interviewing witnesses, and almost every other aspect of the case. This streamlines the process, and drastically reduces costs for most members of the class. Unlike an individual case, most people do not need to go to court to opt into a class.
There Are Too Many Individual Lawsuits
There is a limit to how much money a corporation has, and how much time the courts have. This is true for even the largest multi-national company. If enough individuals file a lawsuit against the company, it eventually becomes difficult or impossible to recover any more compensation for the damages done. By grouping all the victims into a court-approved class, it allows everyone affected to receive compensation for their damages.
What Do I Need to Know About the Class Action Process?
In a class action lawsuit, the court uses a single case, or a small group of cases, to determine how the rest of the cases might turn out. This is known as a bellwether trial. Then, everyone affected receives notification and can participate in the class action or opt out.
The judge hears the case that serves as the class representative, and hands down the court’s decision. The judge may dismiss the suit if he agrees with the defendant, which keeps the entire class who opted in from pursuing an individual claim. If the judge sides with the victims, however, he determines an award amount which the plaintiffs’ attorney must distribute among all those who opted in.
Should I Call a Class Action Lawsuit Attorney About My Case?
Most attorneys do not handle class action lawsuits. Class action attorneys have special training and knowledge to navigate the complex class action and mass tort processes. This type of litigation requires a large amount of tedious work, and getting the right attorney on your side is key. Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. is ready to go to work for you.
If you believe you suffered injuries or financial damages and there are probably other victims out there, give us a call today. We have the skills and resources you need to represent you in a class action lawsuit or mass tort litigation. Call 631-600-0000 today for your complimentary consultation.