You have been injured by a product and you want the company to make amends. If you are one of many people who were injured, you might be better off joining a class action against the company, but that raises some questions. Do you qualify for one? And would it be a better choice than going alone? Here are a few considerations you will want to consider.
How Does A Class Action Even Begin?
Let’s start with what a class action is according to Cornell Law School: it’s a civil suit that one person or a small group of people bring against an entity while representing a group of people too large to effectively sue anyone. They are common in securities cases, where many people are defrauded, employment cases, where all the employees were treated the same way, and other similar situations.
The first step is for a small number of the people to bring suit against the defendants. This original group is called the lead plaintiffs. These folks than ask for the case to be certified as a class action, either federally or in the state where the injury took place. The judge can certify it if the case has the following points:
- There’s a legal case to be made.
- A great many people have been harmed in a similar way.
- The Lead Plaintiff has been injured in the same way as everyone else in the group and is willing/able to represent the others’ interests fairly. They should have a reasonable plan for representing everyone.
The big stumbling block to certification is normally point 2- often, individuals will all be hurt by the same thing, but their injuries will be unique. For instance, if you can prove that a product twisted hundred’s of people’s fingers the same way that it twisted yours and you have a good way of representing all those people, you have a good chance of certification.
Joining A Class Action
If you are a part of the affected group, you may get a letter notifying you that you qualify. Most of the time, you are considered as represented by the Lead Plaintiffs unless you ask to be taken out of the group. The letter will have a form for you to send in to do that.
If you think you are part of an injured class, but weren’t notified, you can always do an internet search for lawsuits pertaining to the injury. Lawyers will generally have websites dedicated to these lawsuits and they will list who you can call to join up.
The way to know if you qualify is to read the allegations carefully with your specific injury in mind. Were you injured in the way and by the thing that is listed in the description of the lawsuit? Then you probably qualify. There should be a description of who qualifies on the website, too.
Could You Be The Lead Plaintiff?
Do you want to start a class action and be the Lead Plaintiff? This is possible, provided you think your case fits all the requirements of being certified. You would have the responsibility of hiring the lawyer, going to all the hearings, consulting on the case and acting as a witness. With the additional responsibility comes additional reward. When the settlement is decided on, the Lead Plaintiff gets an amount decided on before the other members of the class get the rest of the recovery amount.
What Are You Going To Get Out Of It?
The benefits of joining a class action lawsuit, instead of being the lead plaintiff, is that you don’t go through the expense and effort of consulting in the lawsuit. You still can be compensated for your suffering, and you won’t be alone in your efforts against what could be a major corporation.
So, a product has injured you and, after reading this, you think you should look into a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer. You can contact Aiman-Smith & Marcy for more information and help. They are a mid-sized law firm that specializes in consumer fraud, employment law, and, of course, class action lawsuits. They look forward to helping you in your next steps.