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How Class Action Lawsuits Work

Class action lawsuits give a large group of individuals without significant financial resources the legal means to collectively seek justice for a wrongdoing. Pursuing this legal option takes a highly complex and lengthy route. Here’s how class actions lawsuits work.

Numerous people may be victims of a wrongdoing committed by a larger entity, such as a pharmaceutical company or a manufacturer of consumer products. When one or more of these victims file a lawsuit against a corporation, it is known as a class action lawsuit.

The “class” consists of one, a dozen, thousands, or even millions of individuals who have been allegedly wronged by the defendant. All members of the class action lawsuit have been similarly wronged or harmed by the conduct of the defendant.

In the event the plaintiffs win the lawsuit, the proceeds (after legal fees) from the judgment or settlement are distributed among the members of the class. Payment distributions may not necessarily be equal among all the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit.

How Class Action Lawsuits Work


What are reasons for a class action lawsuit?

Class action lawsuits can be brought on by any number of everyday scenarios. When several people receive defective auto parts from an auto shop, a class action lawsuit can be filed. Similarly, defective products in general as well as dangerous medical devices can lead to a class action lawsuit.

In the workplace, for instance, class action lawsuits can be filed when violations in overtime or wages occur. Sexual harassment in the workplace, unlawful employment practices, deceptive business practices, and civil rights violations are common causes of class action lawsuits.


How does a class action lawsuit work?

  1. Recognize the harm

An individual may realize she has been harmed by a company and reasonably assume many other people have experienced the same injury, whether physical or financial. In such an event, the individual contacts a law firm that specializes in class action lawsuits.


  1. Hire a class action law firm

This individual who begins the class action lawsuit is known as the lead plaintiff or class representative. As the lead plaintiff, they work with the attorney they hired to gather evidence, participate in hearings, and attend the trial. The lead plaintiff has the authority to reject or accept a settlement.

Class action lawsuits work differently than individual lawsuits. The attorneys hired to pursue a class action lawsuit must conduct investigations and determine whether the court would approve the matter. In the meantime, the lawsuit is considered as proposed class actions.

In order for the proposed class actions to officially be given a class action lawsuit status, the court must approve the case. Since federal law regulates class action lawsuits, the judge considers whether the hired law firm has the necessary experience, skills and knowledge of law to represent the class.


  1. Conduct investigations

The class action lawsuit goes through the phase of discovery, which is simply when lawyers from both parties collect evidence, exchange documents, and gather sworn testimony. The law firm may seek out individuals affected by the injury to provide testimony.


  1. Opt in or opt out

Many individuals are passively involved in a class action lawsuit. Those harmed by the defendant may receive a letter or email notifying them of the case. If the case is major, TV and radio commercials are aired in order to reach a larger segment of the population.

Individuals have the right to opt in or opt out of the lawsuit. By opting out, injured individuals are not involved in any way; they will not receive compensation. By opting in, participation in the case is still not required; compensation is received if the case is successful.


  1. Reach a settlement

The class action lawsuit then proceeds like any other lawsuit. A verdict or settlement is eventually reached, with settlements being the most common resolution. In less common instances, the case may go to trial, and the trial moves forward without any special procedures.


  1. Claim part of the settlement

Once a settlement has been reached, the class action lawsuit attorneys are responsible for notifying the groups of people whose rights are affected and instructing them how to claim their portion of the compensation. Usually, a claim deadline will be set.

The compensation is derived from the settlement or jury award. Before the compensation is distributed, the legal fees must be paid. Depending on circumstances, class members who were more severely harmed may receive a higher percentage of the settlement. Or, distribution may be equal.

How Class Action Lawsuits Work


Anderson + Wanca Class Action Law Firm

A class action lawsuit can be beneficial, especially when the meager financial losses among harmed individuals add up to millions of dollars. By filing a class action lawsuit, those injured can group together and force a corporation to change its policies or procedures.

When you plan to file a class action lawsuit, look no further than Anderson + Wanca. The attorneys at our law firm are experienced with class action lawsuits and highly knowledgeable about laws surrounding them. We’ll examine your case and help you reach a potential settlement.

Over the years, our lawyers have represented numerous individuals who have received defective products and suffered harm or those who have been adversely affected by product warranty claims. Businesses should not sell defective items, and manufacturers must stand behind their workmanship.

Anderson + Wanca attorneys have a long history of satisfied clients. We’ve provided expert legal counsel to victims of data breaches, individuals affected by rising life insurance fees, and those involved in long-term care insurance fraud. We represent people who’ve been similarly harmed and seek a resolution.

Our class action law firm is experienced in providing legal representation to individuals who have been negatively impacted by a range of additional scenarios, like junk faxes, spam text messages, total vehicle losses, and biometric privacy issues. No matter what the circumstance, we can effectively represent you.

Choose Anderson + Wanca when you plan to file a class action lawsuit. Our top-notch attorneys are skilled in bringing justice to individuals who’ve been injured in any way. Contact us today at our Rolling Meadows, Illinois, office to discuss your individual case.