How Do Class Action Lawsuits Work?

Maybe you bought a phone that gave you trouble or a car that didn’t drive well. You’re considering filing a lawsuit against the seller, manufacturer, or other related party. If a large number of people are having the same trouble you are, it’s possible to file a joint complaint or “class action lawsuit.”

Class action lawsuits are constantly in the news. Do you understand how they work?

Strength in Numbers

A class action lawsuit allows a group of individuals to file a single, larger lawsuit against a company rather than smaller individual suits that will back up the court system. If you’re the individual who decides to start and file the lawsuit, you’ll be the “Lead” or “Named” plaintiff. Your name will be the one on the complaint, i.e., Smith vs. ABC Interactive, LLC.

Class members are the individuals whose legal rights are affected by the allegations and the lawsuit, and covered by any settlement or judgment in the case. As a class member, you may not be aware of the lawsuit until you actually receive a letter in the mail or see other notification. If you’re not interested in participating, and would rather file your own lawsuit, you can also opt out by notifying the law firm.

The defendant is the individual, company or entity you plan to file a claim against.

The Class Action Process

Once you’ve decided to file a class action, you’ll need to discuss your case with an attorney who understands how they work. The attorney will review things like the number of people who have also suffered the same kind of harm, find out if a similar lawsuit has already been filed, and if the statute of limitations has already passed.

Once he or she determines that you have a case, the process will start with a filing, indicating that a “class” of individuals is being represented. The judge presiding over the case will then certify the case as a class action. The discovery phase involves examinations of documents from the defendant, and using them to prove the allegations, as well as possibly conduct depositions with others in the class.

The company may settle outside of court or the case could go to trial. As the lead plaintiff, you may be called to testify along with other plaintiffs. If you win your case, the settlement phase starts and you can receive a monetary award. A detailed description is available at ClassAction’s website.

How Much Will I Get?

As with any other lawsuit, there isn’t a way to accurately gauge the compensation you will receive when it’s all said and done. It may take several months to years to reach a resolution with the defendant. Your case may even go to trial.

If you are able to reach a settlement, the monetary award tends to cover filing fees, court costs, attorney and legal fees, and other expenses. The lead plaintiff(s) may also receive an amount determined by their actual participation in the suit. What’s left after all that is distributed to other class members. While there are exceptions, most class action lawsuit participants receive a fairly small amount of compensation.

Florida’s Consumer Law Advocate

Are you the victim of a substandard product or service? Is a debt collector harassing you after you told them to stop? Are you getting robocalls from companies you’ve never heard of?

The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi is ready to help you obtain peace of mind. We can evaluate your case and consider whether there may already be a class action suit in progress, or if it may be possible to initiate one. Call for your free case evaluation at 1-844-542-7235 or contact us online.