Does the Class Representative Get Extra Compensation?
While the class representative might get extra compensation, it depends on various factors. The class representative might receive an incentive award that compensates her for serving as the lead plaintiff and working on behalf of the entire class; however, this does not happen in every case.
If you serve as a class representative in a class action lawsuit we pursue, we will fight to ensure you receive ample compensation for your dedication and hard work.
What Might Affect the Potential Compensation a Class Representative Recovers?
There are three major decisions a judge must make regarding compensation after she rules on behalf of the plaintiffs in a class action claim. This includes:
- The amount of legal fees and attorneys’ fees paid
- The total value of the fund for class members, or each one’s individual payout
- The compensation offered to the class representative
When judges award compensation in a class action lawsuit, they have wide discretion to offer the class representative extra compensation based on a number of factors.
Some of the factors a judge will likely consider when granting an award to the class representative include:
- The severity of injury or financial damages she suffered
- Her hands-on participation in the litigation process
- The value of the case based on the losses of all class members
Often, this results in the lead plaintiff receiving money based on their actual losses or additional funds above and beyond the compensation granted to other members of the class.
What Is an Incentive Award?
Sometimes, you may hear the court or legal professionals refer to the discretionary compensation a judge offers to the class representative as an incentive award. It offers individuals who suffered injuries or losses an incentive to serve as the lead plaintiff in this type of case. With all the responsibilities class representatives handle, it is only fair they receive some type of extra compensation for their work.
If we handle a case where you serve as class representative, you can feel confident that we will seek this type of compensation on your behalf. While these payouts are discretionary and only the judge can determine their amount, we can build a strong case for a large incentive award based on your work for the other members of the class.
We can show that you worked hard to help others in the class get the fair compensation they deserved.
What Are the Responsibilities of The Class Representative?
In most class action lawsuits, there is a single named plaintiff. Known as the lead plaintiff or the class representative, this victim is the only one whose case goes before the court. The courts treat every victim who meets the qualifications to participate in the class action as a single plaintiff, meaning the outcome of the class representative’s case determines the outcome for every other member of the class.
Sometimes, the class representative is the plaintiff who files the initial claim. Other times, it is the strongest case. When the court certifies the class action lawsuit, it also officially appoints the class representative. Serving as such includes a number of responsibilities:
- Hiring and paying the legal team on the case (all involved parties must pay legal fees)
- Officially filing the lawsuit as a class action claim
- Helping to collect evidence to prove liability and damages
- Having their case presented to the court
- Serving as a representative of the entire class in negotiations
- Agreeing to or declining any settlement negotiation offers
Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C.: Class Action Lawsuit Attorneys
If you believe others may have suffered injuries or financial losses the same way you did, you may have a viable class action claim. You need to discuss your case with a skilled attorney who handles these complex lawsuits. We can help you understand if you should pursue legal action, and whether you might want to serve as the class representative in your case. Call our office today at 631-600-0000 to schedule your free case evaluation.
How Are Asbestos Cases Paid Out?
If you suffer from mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, or other serious health conditions caused by asbestos exposure, you have several options to collect the compensation due to you. According to a Reuters report, about 2,000 people file asbestos-related lawsuits each year. Most of these lawsuits are individual cases, because the nature of their exposure, illness, and prognosis makes it difficult for any type of mass tort action.
Because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, which often appears decades after the initial asbestos exposure, it can be difficult to hold the right company accountable. In fact, dozens of asbestos manufacturers have filed for bankruptcy in the 40-plus years since the full dangers of asbestos exposure have been recognized. If the company liable for your exposure went out of business, you may be eligible to collect compensation from an asbestos fund set up for this purpose.
Pursuing an Individual Lawsuit
Most asbestos exposure claims stem from mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly type of cancer linked exclusively to asbestos. These cases are especially complex, because it is not uncommon for there to be 20 to 40 years between the time of exposure to asbestos and the mesothelioma diagnosis. Some of the companies who manufactured and worked with asbestos products in the 1960s and 1970s are still around, and we can pursue a claim against them if we can prove they caused your exposure to asbestos. Gacovino Lake is up for the task, collecting all available evidence in your case and linking your exposure to your current health.
Of course, it is also important that we act quickly. We only have a limited time to file a lawsuit or other claim for compensation after your diagnosis. The statute of limitations on this type of case is typically tolled between the date of your exposure and the date of your diagnosis. However, the clock begins ticking the day you receive your diagnosis, and some states give you as little as a year to act.
In addition to documenting your case and proving liability, we must also document your damages to ensure we recover enough money to pay your bills and illness-related losses. This may include collecting copies of your medical bills, pay stubs, and other information to prove how this diagnosis has affected you financially. We will also request compensation for pain and suffering and other emotional losses.
If your doctor diagnosed you with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition, you need to talk with one of our lawyer about your case as soon as possible. We can determine if you have a legal claim. If you do, we can find any and all evidence linking your cancer to asbestos exposure, and prove your former employer or another party caused your damages.
Filing a Claim with an Asbestos Trust Fund
Many of the companies who manufactured asbestos products and exposed their employees to this dangerous material filed for bankruptcy over the last few decades.
As a condition of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, the courts made these companies establish and fund a trust to cover future asbestos claims. These funds are still available for qualifying applicants who can prove that one of the companies that created the fund caused their asbestos-related illness or injury.
The best way to gain access to one of these funds is to discuss your situation with a mesothelioma lawyer who handles this type of application regularly and can ensure you meet all qualifications. Each of these funds have separate eligibility requirements, usually requiring that you worked for a specific company, on a specific jobsite, or with specific products during a set time period.
If we discover you qualify, we will begin building a case on your behalf. We will need to provide employment records and other documentation of your previous job and job duties. We will also collect your medical records and other materials to show the full range of your damages.
Each trust fund has its own filing procedures, but we will ensure your application gets to the right authority. Then, we wait while they evaluate your claim. Some funds may expedite your claim if we can show you suffer from life-threatening cancer.
Because asbestos funds are different from an individual lawsuit, we do not get an opportunity to participate in the process of putting a value on your claim. Instead, the trustees of the fund will liquidate your claim based on the list of expenses and related damages submitted.
Contacting an Asbestos Payout Attorney about Your Case
If you suffer from a serious health condition related to asbestos exposure, you need to talk to our attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. We can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at 631-600-0000 to schedule your free case review.
How Do I Change My Lawyer?
Are you wondering whether you made the wrong choice in your personal injury attorney? Perhaps you already know that you are not heading down the right path and you want to know how to change your lawyer.
If done conscientiously and for the right reasons, changing your lawyer can be a seamless transition for the best. There are nevertheless some things of which to be aware moving forward.
What Steps Do I Need to Take to Change My Lawyer?
Step 1: Ensure the lawyer you want to change to will be a better fit than your current lawyer. Do not pick the first lawyer you talk to just so you can get out of your current arrangement.
Step 2: Review a copy of the written representation agreement you signed with your current lawyer.
Your written representation agreement should contain information about what happens in the event you change lawyers. The agreement might specify a different protocol for whatever the circumstances are surrounding your need or desire to change lawyers.
Step 3: Provide your lawyer with a notice dictating your plans to change your legal representation. Any notice you provide to your lawyer for ending the relationship should be in writing, dated, and include instructions about where to send your file. Be sure to make a copy for your records.
Step 4: Retrieve any property or papers you entrusted to your current lawyer. Ethical rules obligate lawyers to return any property to you as well as all documents necessary to advance your case. Certain rules allow lawyers to redact their unique “work product” from the file, such as any notes they made to themselves concerning the case. The rest of your case file belongs to you.
If you paid your lawyer in advance, be sure to recover any fees for unfinished work.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Changing My Lawyer?
A lawyer who has performed work on your case may have a quantum meruit claim against any compensation you ultimately receive. Quantum meruit means “as much as (s)he deserves.” This means that your current lawyer can bill you his or her reasonable and customary hourly rate for any work already performed or in progress at the time you ended the relationship. You will want to make sure you understand that computation.
Another factor to consider is whether, if your trial date is approaching, the court where your case is pending would grant a continuance to get your new lawyer up to speed and prepared to try the case.
Come See If We Are a Good Fit for Your Case. Schedule a Free Consultation Today.
At Gacovino, Lake & Associates, PLLC, we offer free, confidential consultations to help clients weigh their options in changing their lawyers. To learn more about your options, call us at 800-550-0000.