Sometimes companies or businesses fail to provide the services or products they promised to their consumers, or they don’t meet the standards most people were expecting. In these cases, consumers can come together to take legal action against the company in a class action lawsuit. These lawsuits can be very complicated due to the amount of people involved and the size of the entity being sued but they can result in justice for the people who did not receive what they originally thought they would.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits allow one or more parties, formally known as plaintiffs, to file a lawsuit on behalf of a bigger group, formally known as a class. Class actions allow federal and state courts to hear lawsuits that would be impossible to manage if each individual member of the class were required to take an active part in the lawsuit. Some of the most common incidents that result in class action lawsuits are:
- Defective or dangerous medications
- Illegal business practices such as overcharging, failing to provide a promised service, etc.
- Discrimination against a specific group of employees
- False advertisement and breach of contract
What Are Some of the Benefits of Class Action Lawsuits?
Although the idea of class action litigation might seem intimidating due to the amount of people involved, there are some benefits that are exclusive to this type of litigation that make it worth pursuing for a lot of parties. Some benefits of seeking a class action lawsuit include:
- Seeking compensation for small amounts: The lesser cost of class action lawsuits can allow people to seek justice for amounts of money that may not have been reasonable to sue for alone.
- Less expensive: Class action lawsuits are far less expensive to the individuals involved than regular lawsuits. All the plaintiffs involved split the costs of litigation among themselves, which cuts the costs for everyone involved.
- Contingency fee basis: Many class action lawsuits run on a contingency fee basis, which means that no plaintiffs will be responsible financially unless they win the case.
- Efficiency: A class action lawsuit will be litigated by one judge in court, which means that it will take up less of the court’s resources and take less time overall.
- Consistent ruling: Since these cases are overseen by only one judge and the plaintiffs are suing as a group, all plaintiffs will receive similar (if not identical) payouts.
- Damages for all plaintiffs: If people sued separately rather than in a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs who filed their suits the earliest would be likely to get more compensation for similar injuries than plaintiffs who filed their suits later. Class action lawsuits allows all parties to receive their damages at the same time and relative to their specific injuries or losses.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Class Action Lawsuits?
While class action lawsuits can be very useful for large groups of people seeking damages for the same offense, they are part of asystem that has flaws, so there are some disadvantages to them as well. Some of the disadvantages of class action lawsuits include:
- Very little control: Since class action lawsuits are filed on behalf of a significant amount of people, the chances of one person being able to provide input regarding the settlement or how they were impacted by the accused are slim. One representative usually represents the entire group of plaintiffs, and this person is tasked with making choices that will benefit the class as a whole.
- Long waits: Due to the amount of people involved and the resulting complications, class action lawsuits can take a significant amount of time to settle. Some cases can take upwards of three years to reach a settlement, which can create a lot of difficulties. A class action lawsuit is not the right approach for you if you are seeking immediate results.
- No further action: It is law that once a class action lawsuit is completed, you cannot try to create another lawsuit individually or as a group if you lose. A class action lawsuit is the only option, so tread carefully if you expect further action will be necessary down the line.
How Can I Start a Class Action Lawsuit?
Anyone with a valid reason can initiate a class action lawsuit so long as they meet certain qualifications. There are some steps that can be followed in order to get a lawsuit started, such as:
- Write your story down: Organizing your thoughts about what happened to you and the other impacted people you plan to represent can be beneficial in getting the lawsuit started. This will be a helpful tool to present to potential lawyers.
- Gather your class: There is no specific number of people needed to start a class action lawsuit, however, they make the most sense when a relatively large number of people have been impacted by the issue at hand. For example, if a few dozen people all had prescriptions filled with the same defective medication, that would be good cause for a class action lawsuit.
- Determine which type of law is applicable to your case: There are many types of law, and determining which one is most relevant to your case is important for a few reasons. It helps you determine which claims to bring forward as well as which lawyers to seek out.
- Find a lawyer who works on class action lawsuits in the applicable area of law: Not every law firm that works on class action lawsuits does so in all types of law. Some firms are only willing to represent medical cases or false advertisement cases, so contacting the correct people will save a lot of time and provide you with the best possible representation for your specific case.
- File the lawsuit: Your lawyer will help get the ball rolling in the legal system and begin the process of litigating your lawsuit. It helps to remember that it is not necessary to seek out all people impacted by your case. Class action lawsuits are meant to represent all people impacted without hearing from them all.
What Could Prevent Me from Filing a Class Action Lawsuit?
There aren’t many reasons one would be prevented from filing a class action lawsuit, but some companies are actively working to prevent them. Corporations can require their workers and even their consumers to sign arbitration clauses. Depending on the clause itself, you may be prevented from participating in class action lawsuits against the corporation. However, not all arbitration clauses are flawless, and a lawyer with experience in class action lawsuits may be able to get past that issue.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have been involved in an issue you believe could be litigated through a class action lawsuit, contact Rash Mueller today. With over 30 years of experience representing clients in class action lawsuits, we can provide you with expert advice and help you and many others seek compensation for what you went through. We will help you understand your legal rights simply, navigate the legal system in an effective manner, and make wise legal decisions for yourself and the class you are representing. Contact us today at (954) 914-7116 or via our contact page.