In many cases, more than one person may suffer from the same set of circumstances. Even so, the cost of litigation could easily offset any settlement if each plaintiff were to sue separately. Class action lawsuits allow you to band together with others who are facing similar situations in order to level the playing field. What is needed for a class action lawsuit and how should you proceed with one? Here is some information you need to know.
How do Class Action Lawsuits Work?
A class action suit begins as a normal court action by one or more individuals, who then becomes known as the lead plaintiffs. As part of their petition, the lead plaintiffs will ask the court to certify their case as a class action suit. To do so, they must show that there is likely a significant number of others who have suffered the same type of harm in the same or a similar manner.
If the petition is approved, the next step will involve notifying other potential plaintiffs. Courts will then begin looking for those who may have used a particular product, been prescribed a medication, or been exposed to an environmental hazard. To do this, they will review product warranty registrations, tax records and other similar documents. Accordingly, people often find out about class action lawsuits when they receive a letter in the mail.
All members of the “class” are considered part of the lawsuit unless they opt out. There is no need for these individuals to testify, turn over evidence, or take any other actions.
When to File a Class Action Lawsuit
Certain situations are more likely to qualify for class action suits than others. As such, you may want to consider a class action lawsuit if you have experienced any of the following:
- A defective product injury
- Health problems after taking prescription medication or using a medical device
- Workplace discrimination, if your company hires hundreds of people and creates a culture where discrimination can thrive
- Exposure to a toxic substance such as when chemicals have been dumped into a water supply
If there is a high probability that others may have suffered in the same manner, you may want to consider a class action lawsuit. This is especially true whenever it would be impractical for one person to file a lawsuit alone. By becoming the lead plaintiff, you will be getting the ball rolling for others who might also have experienced a loss, but were not quite sure what to do about it.
A class action lawsuit will do more than just help people recover their damages. It can also put a company on notice that they are being held accountable. Many times, this is enough to make businesses to stop their bad behavior or take corrective action.
When to Avoid a Class Action
A class action lawsuit does have its benefits, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you should go it alone. That’s because any settlement you receive will be split amongst the many plaintiffs, with each one receiving approximately the same amount. If you have suffered more serious damage than what others are likely to have, you could be selling yourself short to initiate a class action lawsuit.
Quality Representation in Oakland, California
If you do choose a class action lawsuit, it’s important to have the right attorney represent you. Class action lawsuits are complicated matters that should only be handled by someone with the right skills and experience. Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, we are experienced class action lawyers who will fight for your rights as well as the others in your class. Contact us for a consultation to see if your situation might qualify.