When several people experience common injuries, damages, or financial harm caused by a company or an organization, they can band together and file a class action lawsuit.
What is a class action lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit occurs when multiple individuals have endured similar injuries or damages from illegal or unlawful business practices, a product, action, or service. Class action lawsuits are usually filed against employers, government agencies, financial institutions, or any other corporations or entities.
In a class action lawsuit, the group of plaintiffs is known as the class, with those in the group known as class members. The individual filing the class action lawsuit is identified as the lead plaintiff or class representative. They need to be formally approved by the class.
How large should a class be?
There is no minimum number of individuals required for filing a class action lawsuit. However, in practice, there should be at least 20 or more people with highly similar experiences or claims for a class to be certified by the court.
Class certification is important. Without it, the class action lawsuit can’t proceed.
Class action lawsuits vs. Mass tort lawsuits
Class action lawsuits are different from mass tort lawsuits. While both lawsuits involve large groups of people, the difference lies in the scale of injury and how the plaintiffs are treated.
Mass tort lawsuits are typically larger in scale. Each plaintiff is considered an individual. Furthermore, the degree of personal injury or harm between all plaintiffs can vary. Because of this, mass tort lawsuits are usually filed against manufacturers of defective drugs and other dangerous products.
As discussed earlier, several elements must be satisfied to pursue a class action lawsuit. All plaintiffs are part of the class, which is considered as one plaintiff.
Benefits of a class action lawsuit
- More plaintiffs against the same defendant
They say that there’s strength in numbers and it’s true. A group of individuals fighting for the same cause may have a higher chance of success than an individual. Defendants are also more inclined to settle due to the number of plaintiffs.
- The expenses are reduced
Lawsuits can be expensive. While it’s difficult to say how much it costs to sue an individual or a company, expect to pay around $10,000. This includes the attorney fees, filing fees, service fees, discovery costs, and other expenses. The more complicated the case, the higher it might cost.
In a class action lawsuit, the litigation costs are divided among the class members. Often, class members don’t have to pay any legal fees. They only need to pay if they won the case.
- A class action lawsuit is more efficient
One of the most notable advantages of a class action lawsuit is its efficiency. Similar claims are collected and brought to court in one go. Instead of hearing 20 different cases about the same issue regarding the same defendant, a class action lawsuit lets the court hear it in one case.
- Opportunity for compensation
Many class action lawsuits are settled out of court. This settlement is divided evenly among the class members. This can be a disadvantage, however, if your claims or personal injury are far greater than the other plaintiffs. You won’t be able to get a fair settlement.
Types of class action lawsuits
Class action lawsuits differ based on the laws that were violated. Some types can be heard in a state court, while others must be heard in a federal court. Here are some of the most common types.
Labor and employment
An employment class action lawsuit occurs when multiple employees experience similar law violations from their employer. Wage and hour class action lawsuits, which are filed when employees aren’t being paid properly, fall under this category.
If you and other individuals were injured by or because of a certain product, you can file a product liability class action lawsuit. Reasonable grounds include defects in manufacturing and/or design and marketing defects (no warning signs or instruction labels). Additionally, you can also file for negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability.
When a defendant violates consumer protection laws, a consumer protection class lawsuit may be filed against them. These cases may be filed against advertisers, car dealers, creditors, debt collectors, landlords, and retailers.
Do you need help in filing a class action lawsuit?
Get the legal representation that you need from an experienced class action attorney in San Diego.