The Basics Of A Class Action

A class action is kind of a civil suit that is brought about on behalf of multiple people who are similarly affected by a situation. In simple terms, a class-action lawsuit is titled as such because there is a class of people who are in a substantially similar circumstances and they get together to form a class in order to get relief through the lawsuit. Such class-action lawsuits have gained a lot of popularity over the past decades years and there also have been many movies made on the relief brought about by such class-action lawsuits.

Some of the common examples of class-action lawsuits include lawsuit filed by workers of the company to get a judgment against illegal hiring or salary practices. Similarly, class-action lawsuits are usually filed against drug companies when they make illegal claims about a product that results in physical damage or severe harm.

One of the most common causes of class-action lawsuits is securities claims. For instance, a company issues a false press release that causes the stock price to move up substantially but the stock price dives below the original price when the truth comes out. The stockholders who bought the shares of the company after reading the deceptive press release issued by the company may get together and bring about a class action against the company to get relief due to the loss caused as a result of the action of the company.

An individual joining a class-action lawsuit is usually required to sign papers wherein he or she declares that they forfeit the right to sue the other party as an individual. If the lawsuit is successful, damages are awarded to the plaintiffs suing the company. In many cases, all the class members are not given equal compensation from the damages obtained. In these class-action lawsuits, the lawyers usually work on a contingency basis.

A contingency fee arrangement means that they work for free for their clients but they do get a portion of the damages awarded by the court. However, their clients are under no obligation to pay any fees in case the suit is unsuccessful. In some cases, the reward for the lawyers can go up to 50% of the total awarded damages but in many cases, it may be as low as 30%.

As far as the damages awarded in a class-action lawsuit are concerned, these are usually split into compensatory and punitive damages. The compensatory damages, as the name suggests, are awarded to address the actual damages caused by action of the defendants such as suffering, pain, loss of life or illness. There is also punitive damages which, as the name suggests, are a type of punishment for the defendants who have committed the illegal acts that have resulted in harm. In many cases, punitive damages are extremely high where the lawyers are able to demonstrate that the defendants have shown utter disregard for the safety, health as well as emotional well-being of the sufferers.

The class-action lawsuit may be settled prior to trial or may also become jury trials. Direct mediation is also accepted in many cases. Mediation or settlement means that the plaintiffs and defendants do not have to go through the costly process of jury trial and they mutually agree to the damages. One of the biggest problems with jury trials is that a company can always appeal the decision, and the appeal process usually last for years which results in a very long period of weight for the plaintiffs before they can see any money. In some cases where huge punitive and compensatory damages are awarded, the company may also declare bankruptcy to avoid paying any compensation to the plaintiffs.

Can Anyone File A Class Action Lawsuit?

When a class action lawsuit is filed, many people do not realize how difficult the process is. It is one that can take several years to just collect the evidence. Lawyers, in particular, are going to be monitoring the drugs that are released by pharmaceutical companies. They will also look at medical equipment that is used. In addition to this, there are companies such as car manufacturers that have had uncountable parts fail, some of which have led to fatalities. Those that are watching these events, if they are lawyers, can start to form class-action lawsuits. Not everyone can file a class-action lawsuit. Let’s discuss who these people are, and what their qualifications need to be.

How Does A Class Action Lawsuit Start?

It begins with trying to determine if there is a case or not legally. Just because someone has been injured by a product, or has died, that does not necessarily mean that the product itself is faulty. What they will need to do is to research, looking for similar cases where people have had problems in certain ways. For example, if someone has kidney problems as a result of using a specific pharmaceutical drug, and multiple people have the same issue, this is grounds for this type of lawsuit.

Will It Take Them Long To Set This Up?

Discovery is the process that many lawyers will use to gather information. As the name would indicate, they are discovering whether or not they have a case that they can follow through with. They will gather information in the form of newspaper clippings to follow these reports, and then they will gather information from medical doctors and physicians. From there, they will start to look at the manufacturing process. They will find out how everything is made. Based on this information, and info that is derived from experts in these industries, they can then eventually determine if they have a case. This could take months to do, or it could take years. It always depends on the product that is in question.

Will It Take Long To Receive The Settlement?

It’s not going to take very long to receive the settlement once the judge has ruled in favor of the lawyers that are filing the lawsuit. It will probably be no more than a few weeks, although it is possible that it may take several months, or as long as a year, for the company to gather all of that funding. The judge will determine it as to when the money should be paid out. Once they have done this, the company in question must comply. In addition to this, through the process of discovery, the lawyers may discover many other people were also afflicted. They will often advertise in papers, and on national television, looking for other people that can be part of the class action lawsuit. Although this could take many more months, it will likely be worth the wait because the amount of the settlement will be much higher.

In conclusion, only an attorney can file a class-action lawsuit. Individuals cannot do this on their own. They can bring this information to the attention of an attorney that has filed class-action lawsuits before. They are better off to find one that has been successful with products similar to the ones that they are questioning. Once the information has been gathered, it’s simply a matter of time before the case is heard before the judge. If all goes well for the attorneys, the class-action lawsuit will lead to what could be millions, or even billions, of dollars as a result of filing this lawsuit.