Most people have heard the term class action lawsuits when viewing the news, but many don't really understand what this term means. Read on to learn more.
What is a class action suit?
If you consider each word in the term, it could lead to a greater understanding. In this case, "class" means a group of people who were affected by the same wrong and suffered damages. If you were among those affected by faulty airbags in your vehicle, you are a member of that class when it comes time for a lawsuit. The "action" part of the term means the lawsuit. Those affected by fraud, defective products, unfair treatment or other forms of harm can file a suit against the wrongdoer. Class action lawsuits, however, give those affected by wrongdoing a different, and usually better, opportunity to gain compensation.
Why a class action lawsuit?
When many, many people have suffered from the actions of a business or person, they can all come together and form a "class" of people, all seeking compensation. Some class actions involve literally thousands of plaintiffs, all agreeing to accept the ruling under the umbrella of one and only one case. There is more to a class action suit, however, since it benefits the members of the class in several ways:
1. Time: Litigating cases takes time, so forming many, many cases into one helps clear the docket for more cases. Additionally, class action suits have a tendency to settle, which can cut court time short, if not eliminate it altogether. Strength in numbers can prompt defendants to take action to simply make an offer.
2. Money: Court costs can take a chunk out of personal injury lawsuits, particularly when you consider that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. The lawyers litigating class action lawsuits do get paid in a similar way, but when spread out over many claimants the cost per litigant is lower.
3. Crack Legal Teams: You may be somewhat limited when you hire a single attorney to litigate a case, but putting your case under the class action legal team means using specialized expertise in the right area of law. You can have the best technical experts available testifying for you, without having to pay the cost. Most class actions suits are against large corporations, who have their own resources for fighting lawsuits.
4 Make a Change for Others: Class action suits often gain a lot of publicity that your single case may not, which can both educate consumers and lead to lasting changes in the way a company does business. Often, the mere whisper of a class action suit will spur changes that benefit all consumers.
If you believe you are part of a class, take action and be sure you understand what you are joining and how it might benefit you. Contact a personal injury attorney for more information.