Companies that engage in misconduct are at risk for being sued by the hundreds or thousands of customers who experience harm as a result of their wrongdoing. Joining a class action lawsuit has its advantages and disadvantages, and wronged individuals may or may not want to join.
Class action lawsuits typically involve defective products, intentionally misleading advertising and information, or financial schemes. But not every offense is appropriate for bringing a class action lawsuit against a company. Certain criteria must be met for the lawsuit to be valid.
- Claims must be similar in nature, so the facts surrounding the offense can be resolved based on similar questions of law. Known as commonality, juries do not need to hear multiple individual cases to determine the differences among them. All claims are handled together.
- People involved in a class action lawsuit must suffer similar injuries. For example, a pharmaceutical company can face this type of lawsuit when they manufacture a defective drug that causes harmful side effects. The thousands or hundreds of thousands of injured individuals can collectively sue.
What to consider before joining a class action lawsuit?
You may be informed about a class action lawsuit that you may be able to join through a letter in the mail, email, or social media alert. Before deciding whether to join the class action suit, you should consider the following:
- Eligibility: In class action lawsuits, the suit is filed on behalf of the class, which is the group of people that have suffered similar harm from the defendant. You must fit the definition of the class to be considered eligible to join, which may be based on the harm you suffered, which product or service caused the harm, and your location.
- Timing: Class action lawsuits typically have a deadline for joining the suit based on the statute of limitations. You can consult a class action attorney to determine if a suit is still within its statute of limitations so you can join.
- Notification: Those who are eligible for class action lawsuits will receive notifications that inform you of your rights as well as important information such as the claims being made in the suit and how you can join or opt out.
- Representation: It is recommended to talk to a class action attorney about providing representation before joining a class action lawsuit. These lawsuits can be complex because of the amount of people involved, which is why you should consider working with an attorney.
What to expect when joining a class action lawsuit?
If you have spoken to a class action lawsuit attorney and decide to join the suit, here is what you can expect:
- Discovery: This is the phase where evidence and information is gathered by both sides to help build their cases before the trial. The parties involved may ask for documents, depositions, and other information.
- Settlement: It is possible that the parties involved may avoid a trial by reaching a settlement. If you have joined the class action lawsuit, you may be entitled to an amount from the settlement.
- Trial: The lawsuit will proceed to trial if there is no settlement. Both sides will present their arguments and the outcome will be decided at the end of the trial.
- Distribution of damages: If the trial results in damages being awarded, the awards will be distributed to those in the class. The distribution may be determined by the court or based on the amount of harm suffered by each individual.
Why should individuals join a class action lawsuit?
Lower Litigation Costs
The costs to litigate are lower when multiple plaintiffs share the legal expenses. This makes it financially feasible for their case to move forward. Furthermore, many class action lawsuits are handled on a contingency basis, so plaintiffs do not pay legal fees unless the case is won.
Spur Industry Change
As mentioned, compensation is usually minimal in a class action lawsuit. However, the opportunity to make a difference can be worthwhile. For example, a class action lawsuit against a telecommunications company can stop them from adding hidden fees to consumer bills.
Justice can be obtained through a class action lawsuit even though the settlement amount is insignificant. If the telecommunications company’s competitors amend their unethical behavior, it can result in positive, widespread changes within the industry.
Develop a Stronger Case
A favorable outcome is also more likely in a class action lawsuit. The sheer number of plaintiffs who have been similarly wronged by the defendant is overwhelming evidence—and strengthens the case. One thousand plaintiffs have a louder voice than one plaintiff.
Expert Legal Representation
Pursuing a class action lawsuit requires expertise in the legal process. Class action lawyers comb through thousands of pages of documents to prepare for the trial. They seek out expert witnesses, too, in order to develop their case. Experienced lawyers handle class action lawsuits.
Why individuals can opt out of a class action lawsuit?
Opting out of a class action lawsuit is a personal choice. If a class action lawsuit is won, the victims receive very little compensation. In cases of securities fraud, for instance, class members receive 2 to 3 pennies for every dollar of loss. Meaningful individual recoveries are uncommon.
Pursuing a traditional lawsuit is also quicker than class action suits. Arbitration proceedings in the former can be resolved within 14 to 18 months and settlement checks are mailed out within weeks. Class action lawsuits, on the other hand, move exceedingly slow.
Lawyers representing class members must certify a potential class action; if the class is certified, it takes years for a pending case to be resolved in trial and reach a settlement. The claims administrator reviews the thousands of claim applications, making it a year before settlement funds are distributed.
The lead plaintiff and the lawyers in a class action lawsuit have the most control over the litigation process. Resultingly, these individuals have the authority to make decisions about the case. Individuals who seek greater control may wish to opt out of a class action lawsuit.
Injured individuals may also want to pursue an individual case when they seek more than the trivial compensation potentially awarded by a class action lawsuit. Plus, traditional cases follow a quicker path toward a final hearing or trial of their claims.
Why Choose Anderson + Wanca Class Action Law Firm
Taking on a class action lawsuit is considered no small feat in the legal profession. Plaintiffs benefit when they are represented by competent class action lawyers. These experienced lawyers have handled similar class action lawsuits in the past and navigate the legal system skillfully.
Consider these factors when choosing to opt out of a class action lawsuit or join one. If the decision is to join, consult with a law firm that specializes in these cases. When the lawyers determine the case is valid, they will file a complaint on the plaintiff’s behalf.
Class action lawsuits are led by one plaintiff and a team of attorneys. Class members are usually passive and do not play an active role in the litigation. However, if the case is won, the settlement amount is distributed among all class action members.
Victims of deceptive advertising, financial schemes and defective products should take legal action. Consult with a class action law firm, like Anderson + Wanca. We handle these types claims and are willing to accept clients with claims outside our areas of specialty.
Our law practice focuses on class action lawsuits. We’ll provide you with effective legal representation when your case involves product warranty claims, robocalls and spam text messages, total vehicle loss, and junk faxes. Our goal is to seek justice and ensure you receive an appropriate settlement.
Our experienced class action attorneys will help you fight back against powerful corporations and even local governments that have engaged in misconduct. Filing or joining a class action lawsuit is the best way to assert your legal rights and demand the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you receive a notification that you are eligible to join a class action lawsuit, consider your options. When you decide that joining a class action lawsuit is the best legal route, the attorneys at Anderson + Wanca are ready to discuss your claim and determine its validity.
Choose Anderson + Wanca for expert legal representation. Our lawyers continue to handle numerous class action lawsuits with success and we will deliver the same exceptional legal services to you. Contact our Rolling Meadows, Illinois, office and speak with an attorney today.