How to Know if You Qualify for a Class-Action Lawsuit
In 2006, one of the world’s largest companies, Enron, suddenly went bankrupt, revealing years of fraud and corruption. As a result, investors who were deceived gathered together in a class action lawsuit against Enron and were rewarded with a whopping $7.2 billion collectively. While extreme instances like this are certainly not commonplace, class action lawsuits are filed every day. The Alexander Law Group, PLC team has put together this guide to help you understand just what a class action lawsuit is and how to know if you qualify for one.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is a lawsuit in which one or a few defendants are being sued by a large group of plaintiffs, usually in cases where there are too many plaintiffs to file individual personal injury lawsuits. The collective plaintiff group is typically represented by one or a few “representative plaintiffs” at trial.
Class action lawsuits are often utilized when the injuries of the “class” have been caused by defective products, including pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, motorized vehicles and other consumer products. People have also sued as a class for consumer fraud, corporate misconduct, securities fraud, and employment practices.
The court’s decision applies to every single participant in the class action lawsuit. If damages are awarded to the plaintiffs, the money follows a “plan of distribution,” even to members of the class who are not physically present in court.
Mass Tort Litigation
One type of class action lawsuit is the mass tort action. A mass tort suit is a civil suit brought by numerous plaintiffs against corporate defendants in a state or federal court. Mass tort litigation involves a harmful impact of an event to a significant segment of the population or a critical mass of a particular community. This could range from injuries incurred due to hazardous material, poorly made items, dangerous drugs, a devastating incident, or industrial disasters. There are three broad categories of mass torts: mass toxic torts, mass disaster torts, and product liability torts.
Planning for a mass tort suit requires an abundance of research and preparation. In a mass tort suit, each plaintiff is treated as an individual, and the cases are examined on a case-by-case basis. In many types of class action suits, the entire group of plaintiffs is treated as one, and a class representative is chosen from among them.
Benefits of Class Action Lawsuits
The first and most obvious benefit to class action lawsuits is that they consolidate many claims into one action. This helps with the congestion of numerous individual claims moving through the court system. Because it combines numerous other small claims, a class action lawsuit often costs less than standard litigation. Moreover, class action lawsuits guarantee that if won, all members of the class receive something.
The best way to know if you qualify for a class action lawsuit is to speak with a class action attorney. By discussing your claim with an experienced class action attorney, you can gain a more complete perspective of your legal options and understand whether a class action suit may be the correct route for you.
While the guidelines do vary slightly from state to state, generally, in order to be certified to file a class action lawsuit, these requirements must first be met:
- The representative or plaintiff must have suffered the same alleged injuries as the proposed class.A common set of facts or legal interest must underlie all of the members’ alleged injuries.
- The class must be defined clearly enough to determine who is and is not a member.
- The representative plaintiff’s claims must be so similar to the collective class members that litigating the representative plaintiff’s case will adequately decide the absent class members’ cases.
- The number of class members makes joining all of them to the lawsuit impractical therefore making it easier to file one class action suit.
- A class action is the best and most efficient way of resolving the claims, either for the plaintiffs or for the defendants.
If you have been injured by no fault of your own and are interested in seeking legal action, contact the experienced team of personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, PLC. We have unparalleled experience with class action, mass torts, and personal injury claims. Our team will listen to your story and help you navigate your claim to get the compensation you are entitled to. We can easily be reached via telephone at (804) 271-1969.