When a product or business harms more than one person, the business could be facing numerous potential personal injury claims. In order to make this process more manageable for both the court system and the defendant, those people could come together as a group or class and receive representation as a whole rather than as individuals. In this type of situation, one or more plaintiffs are filing the personal injury claim on behalf of the entire group, and everyone will benefit from any monetary compensation. This is known as a class-action lawsuit.
What Is a Class-Action Lawsuit?
When people have been harmed or injured due to malfunction or negligence, they can come together to file one single lawsuit in an effort to seek compensation via a personal injury case. This type of case is also called mass tort litigation or multi-district litigation. It is often filed against manufacturers for faulty products which have caused injury or harm to many people.
Class-action lawsuits often benefit the plaintiffs because they have the opportunity to come together to support each other’s injury claims. It also provides them the means to sue the manufacturer, which they may not have on their own. There’s strength in numbers, and a class-action suit is an example of how that strength may work to the benefit of the plaintiffs. Class-action lawsuits can be filed at the state or federal level.
What Types of Cases Are Filed as Class-Action Lawsuits?
There are a wide variety of reasons why people may come together to file a class-action lawsuit, including:
- Defective product. Defective products cause harm or injury due to a manufacturing defect, design flaw, or marketing defect when being used for its intended purpose.
- False advertising. If a company provides misleading or untrue information to get you to buy something or visit their place of business, they are advertising incorrect information.
- Breach of contract. A violation of the agreed-upon contract terms is considered a breach of contract and can include anything from a failure to deliver an asset to a late or missing payment.
- Illegal business practices. Illegal business practices include financial fraud, unfair competition, bribery, employment harassment, and theft.
- Employee discrimination. When a business treats people less favorably for any reason, such as race, sexual orientation, or gender, they are discriminating against those individuals.
What Are the Benefits of Class-Action Lawsuits?
Class action lawsuits benefit all parties involved. The defendant only has to participate in one case instead of many, the judge only needs to hear one case instead of many, and the plaintiffs can work together to prove their case. Another benefit to the plaintiffs is cost savings. By splitting the cost of representation in a class-action lawsuit, the plaintiffs pay a portion of the class-action lawyer fees instead of the full amount.
Many class-action attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless they win your class-action lawsuit. When they win, they will keep a percentage of the settlement as their payment. This contingency fee can vary but is typically around 30%.
What Types of Damages Can a Class-Action Lawsuit Recover?
As with any personal injury case, the damages recovered can include compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include both economic and noneconomic damages. Expenses such as medical bills, transportation to medical appointments, lost wages, chiropractic care, future medical bills, rehabilitation, and future lost wages are covered by economic damages. The noneconomic damages include mental anguish, emotional stress, loss of joy in activities, as well as pain and suffering.
In addition to compensatory damages, the judge may award punitive damages if the defendant acted maliciously or in gross negligence. Punitive damages further punish the defendant by making them pay out more in a settlement and are often used to drive the point home that the defendant should have known better.
How Can I Get Compensation With a Class-Action Lawsuit?
The class-action litigation starts when the lead plaintiff takes legal action with your group’s class-action lawyer. The class-action lawyer will work on behalf of all plaintiffs, even if only one or two represent the group in court. If financial compensation is awarded, each member of the class-action lawsuit will receive a portion of the damages. It’s essential to join the class-action lawsuit early on because sometimes a company will go bankrupt in paying out a financial settlement. In that case, the first ones to file are often the only ones to receive any compensation.
Is a Class-Action Lawsuit Worth Filing?
Even in the case of minor damages, other people may experience the same injuries or harm as you, and joining forces allows you to seek financial compensation. It might be worth your money, time, and resources to join a class-action lawsuit to let the courts hear your issues in addition to those of the other plaintiffs. Regardless of how small your damages are, you will have aided the group as a whole in their class-action lawsuit against a company or business that many may not have been able to take on by themselves.
Do You Need to Hire a Class-Action Attorney?
It’s highly recommended that you and your group look into hiring a personal injury lawyer with specific knowledge in class-action lawsuits. Often, these types of cases ask for large amounts of money since many people will share in the damages, and a class action lawyer can help determine a fair amount to request.
The company or business is going to protect their best interests by hiring a lawyer, or team of lawyers, to represent them and keep the financial compensation as low as possible. It’s wise for you and your fellow plaintiffs to have a class-action lawyer on your side to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you know feels they have the makings of a class-action lawsuit, reach out to the knowledgeable team at Alvarez Law. Laws vary from state to state and we have the experience and knowledge of Indiana and Illinois law to give you and your fellow plaintiffs the best chances of winning and receiving a large settlement. You can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone at 219-641-3468, or fill out our convenient online form via our secure messaging system.