What to Know About Class Action Lawsuits

If an institution’s or individual’s negligence has affected your life significantly and you believe others may share your experience, a viable solution may be to file a class action lawsuit. Although doing so can be complex and challenging, it’s also an effective way for people to unite against a common alleged wrongdoer. This article can provide you with a better understanding of what class action lawsuits are and the potential benefits of filing such a lawsuit.

What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

Class Action Lawsuits

The basic definition of a class action lawsuit is a group of people, such as customers, patients, investors, or employees, who are suing one or more defendants that have allegedly harmed them in a very similar or identical way. It’s a viable method for individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have the time and resources to take a negligent or dishonest party to court and hold them accountable for their actions. Here are some examples of common reasons groups of people file class action lawsuits:

  • A product that’s advertised as safe is either dangerous to its users or doesn’t function as its manufacturer states it should, such as a defective drug that causes physical or psychological harm.
  • An institution that attracts external investors with untrue, incomplete, or otherwise misleading information provided by its representatives.
  • A business that attracts customers with various fraudulent business practices, such as false advertising.
  • A group of people, usually living in the same geographical location, have been negatively impacted by environmental hazards, such as air and soil pollution or water contamination.
  • A group of employees working for the same institution have been victims of various forms of abuse by their employer, such as discrimination, harassment, or unpaid wages.
  • A group of people who were victims of civil rights abuse. For example, discrimination based on characteristics such as race, gender, or religion.

What Are Some Advantages of Filing a Class Action Lawsuit?

Some of the potential advantages of filing a class action lawsuit include:

  • They’re less expensive for the plaintiffs: Many class action lawsuits involve individuals suing large organizations. Because the latter are likely to have the necessary resources for strong legal support, spreading the cost of litigation across a large group of people can even the playing field.
  • They’re efficient: In situations where multiple individuals have allegedly been harmed in a similar way, filing multiple lawsuits would be a waste of time and resources for both the individuals concerned and the court system. Pursuing their common claims in a single lawsuit is far more efficient.
  • They’re a valid way of holding entities accountable for relatively small issues: If you’ve suffered minor harm as a result of one or more parties’ negligence or dishonesty, you probably wouldn’t want to spend your time and resources pursuing legal action. When the respective negligence or dishonesty affects large groups of people, holding those responsible accountable becomes feasible.
  • They tend to reduce the emotional burden on plaintiffs: Filing a lawsuit individually can be a stressful and emotionally draining experience. Doing it as part of a larger group with similar claims can reduce some of that burden.

Who Are the Parties Involved in a Class Action Lawsuit?

The parties involved in a class action lawsuit, in addition to legal professionals, are:

The Lead Plaintiff

The individual who files the initial lawsuit is the lead plaintiff. They’re also the one who defines the common characteristics of the “class” — that is, the group of people who may have been affected in the same way. As opposed to other members of the class action, who only have to officially join the lawsuit and have no other responsibility, the lead plaintiff is likely to be more involved during the proceedings, and their name is usually attached to the class action. Due to this increased responsibility, they may be awarded separate compensation after a successful class action lawsuit.

The Class Members

The people who may have been affected by the same alleged wrongdoing as the lead plaintiff are called the class members. After a judge approves the lawsuit, the attorneys representing the lead plaintiff will try to identify and contact all parties considered class members and send them a class action notice. Each recipient can then determine if they fit the class characteristics and follow the notice’s instructions for opting in or out of the lawsuit.

The Defendant

The individual or organization that’s being sued by the lead plaintiff on behalf of the other class members is called the defendant. They have the right to hire legal representatives and try to prove that they didn’t engage in wrongful conduct toward the lead plaintiff and class members. They may also propose a settlement deal that usually involves paying damages to the allegedly affected parties.

How Can a Law Firm Help You With Your Class Action Lawsuit?

The first step in a class action lawsuit is for an individual who believes they have grounds for a lawsuit to contact a law firm. If you’re in this situation, consider contacting De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers in Las Vegas, and we can help you determine whether you have a case. Information that we may gather to determine whether filing a class action lawsuit in your situation is viable includes the following:

  • The number of people who may have had the same negative experience.
  • Whether the statute of limitations, which is the time limit for filing a lawsuit and varies depending on the particularities of the case, has passed.
  • If there are other pending lawsuits making the same allegations as this one.
  • Whether the potential defendant may have evaded liability by filing for bankruptcy.
  • If there were past lawsuits with similar claims and what their results were.
  • Whether an individual lawsuit would be more appropriate in this specific situation.

Get Help With a Class Action Lawsuit Today

If you think that you have grounds for filing a class action lawsuit, contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers. Our experienced attorneys will discuss the situation with you and help you make an informed decision.

Photo Credit: Image by Sasun Bughdaryan is licensed with Unsplash License