Class Action Lawsuits
What is a class action lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits are civil claims filed on behalf of a large group of people who have suffered similar injuries as a result of the defendant’s actions. The claim is filed by one or more members of the group who will serve as its representatives. Class action lawsuits seek damages to compensate all members of the group for their injuries.
How do I join a class action lawsuit?
Generally, if you qualify as part of the class of plaintiffs, you will be included automatically. It is rare that you will ever have to opt into the class. If you decide that you do not want to participate in the lawsuit, you can opt out. However, if you do not exercise your right to opt out of the lawsuit, you may be bound by the terms of the settlement.
If you qualify as part of the class action, you will receive a notice informing you of the lawsuit. This notice will explain what actions you need to take, if any are necessary, in order to participate.
What are the criteria for a claim to be considered a class action?
There are four criteria which must be met in order for a lawsuit to receive class action status:
- Numerosity – There must be a very large number of similar claims, making it more practical for them to be resolved in one lawsuit instead of separate ones.
- Commonality – The claims must share common factual issues and questions of law.
- Typicality – The individuals named as representatives for the entire class must have claims that are typical of the average class member’s claim.
- Adequacy – The individuals named as representatives for the class must be capable of adequately representing the interests of the entire class.
Should I opt out of the class and file my own lawsuit?
There are two factors which should determine whether it is better for you to opt out and file a separate claim – the size of your claim and your willingness to litigate the case on your own. If the damages you suffered are relatively small, then it is best to remain part of the class. However, if you have suffered a serious injury resulting in extensive personal or financial damages, you may want to file your own claim to make sure your interests are best represented. It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before making this decision.
How much will it cost me to participate in a class action lawsuit?
Nothing. The attorneys representing the plaintiff class will pay all litigation costs, and they will recoup these costs at the conclusion of the case if there is a successful recovery.