There are many types of lawsuits, but one of the most commonly discussed is the class action lawsuit. These lawsuits are targeted against businesses that harm a large group of people in some way, such as causing physical injury or allowing a data breach. If you believe you have a class action lawsuit on your hands, keep reading to learn more.
Who Files the Class Action Lawsuit?
Anyone who has been affected by the product or service can start the class action lawsuit, and it's actually as easy as filing out a simple complaint form and checking the appropriate box. The complicated part is getting the court to certify the case.
For the case to be certified, you, as the representative for the class action lawsuit, must prove you have suffered the same harm as other members in the class action lawsuit. You'll also have to prove that the class affected can be easily defined.
In addition, the class action lawsuit must have enough people included for the court to certify it. On average, at least 40 people need to join a class action lawsuit for a judge to certify the case.
Is There a Benefit to Starting the Class Action Lawsuit?
The lead plaintiff is the one who starts the class action lawsuit, and they have a lot of responsibilities, such as actually hiring a lawyer and filing the lawsuit. In addition, however, they usually have to participate in the case, such as by testifying about the harm or gathering information. The lead plaintiff is also the one who works with the attorney to agree on an appropriate settlement.
For all this work, the lead plaintiff sometimes gets a little extra out of the settlement. This largely depends on the types of injuries you incurred and how big the settlement is. You may also get a higher settlement if you actively participate in the litigation to help your attorney.
How Do Others Join the Class Action Lawsuit?
If you're just a member of the class action lawsuit, you have fewer responsibilities. In most cases, you don't need to do anything to join the class action lawsuit because the companies usually have data regarding who was or was not affected. Most people who end up as part of a class action lawsuit just get a small notice explaining their rights. After a notification, you can choose to opt out of the lawsuit.
If the class action lawsuit involves wage and hour violations, you may have to opt in to participate. Plus, medical devices and prescription drugs that cause harm to a big group of people are not typically handled via class action lawsuits. Each individual member would need to file their own lawsuit.
How Much Do Class Action Lawsuits Cost?
Typically, all members involved in the class action lawsuit pay nothing, even the lead plaintiff. This is because class action lawsuits often involve big sums of money, so payment is often waived until you've won your case. Then, the attorney will usually get a percent of the total settlement. If the case is lost, you usually pay nothing.
Even if the lead plaintiff has to pay a small retainer fee, no one else in the class action lawsuit has to pay to join the lawsuit or receive a settlement. For the most part, class action lawsuits are designed to get you back the money you deserve without charging you more money.
Starting a class action lawsuit can take time, but with the right attorney, you'll get the fair treatment and settlement you deserve. If you would like to know more about how to start a class action lawsuit, contact us at Wolfe, Jones, Wolfe, Hancock, Daniel & South, LLC, today.