Class Action Lawsuits Versus Regular Claims
A lawsuit that's filed by an individual differs from a class action suit since any damages awarded by a judge are paid to a single plaintiff. A class-action lawsuit is filed when a group of people suffering financial or physical damage file a lawsuit against the defendant, usually a large corporation. These are examples of the two types of cases:
1. A lawsuit filed by a single plaintiff against a doctor or hospital for malpractice
2. A class-action lawsuit filed by a group against the provider of a prescription drug that caused damage
A class-action lawsuit has a lead plaintiff that represents everyone who has suffered physical or financial damages due to the defendant's negligence. The lead plaintiff may be an individual or a group. Acting as the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit is a significant responsibility. The person or persons who wish to serve as lead plaintiffs should talk to their attorney and know their duties.
Responsibilites Of the Lead Plaintiff
The lead plaintiff or plaintiffs must take their responsibilities seriously and keep the group updated through the process. The lead plaintiff hires the class-action attorney and files the lawsuit against the defendant with the attorney's assistance. They consult with the attorney on behalf of the group. The lead plaintiff must provide evidence against the defendant and agree to a deposition or testifying in court. The lead plaintiff must also agree to the terms of a settlement. The person or group acting as the lead plaintiff may receive a larger proportion of the award depending on their personal damage and the role they play in the process.
How Long Do Class Action Cases Take To Settle?
The length of time it takes to settle a class-action suit can vary. If the case isn't too involved and the defendant is cooperative, both parties may reach a settlement within a few months. Most suits take two to three years to settle. However, there are exceptions. Large corporations with unlimited funds may fight a class-action suit for years. A class-action suit against a corporation over an oil spill took 26 years to settle.
How To Proceed If You Get Notice Of A Class Action Suit
If you receive a notice about a pending class-action lawsuit you should carefully review the information. The document you receive will explain why a suit is being filed and how you're involved. Among the reasons for a class-action suit being initiated could be due to a membership you have involving an injury due to purchase or membership. A lawsuit could initiate because of personal injury due to a drug that's recalled. Some plaintiffs may receive a notice if they were an employee of a company in question. Some cases don't require plaintiffs to take any action. In other cases, you may have the option to be a plaintiff or opt-out of the action. The letter you receive will explain your options.
Important Factors To Consider
Every class-action lawsuit doesn't automatically get certification from a judge. A hearing is scheduled and the judge must find adequacy, commonality, numerosity, and typically to proceed. When considering the actual number of plaintiffs to certify a class-action lawsuit, most judges certify a class-action suit with 40 or more plaintiffs involved. Each of the plaintiffs that file a lawsuit must have had the same physical injuries or financial lossesfor inclusion in a class-action suit.
According to federal law, a class-action lawsuit may have sub-classes when groups are seeking different kinds of damages. One group may require medical monitoring. Another group may be seeking damages due to side effects from a prescription drug. It's not advisable for plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit to consider too many sub-classes. A judge could rule that there isn't commonality and not certify the case.
Warnings And When To Contact A Class Action Attorney
Companies send out recall notices to customers that have registered products. Most people aren't aware of the recall unless they research product recalls. Consumers should be aware of product recalls involving food or medications. Class action websites provide updates on current class-action lawsuits. If you've suffered damage due to a product or medication you should contact an attorney.