What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is a case filed against a defendant by a group of people with similar injuries caused by the same product, action, or practice.
The basis of a class action is typically one of the following:
- Defective product
- Illegal corporate practice
- Illegal pay practice
In a class action, one or more class representatives bring their claims on behalf of the entire group of similarly injured people. Other members of the class are informed of the lawsuit and given the chance to participate or opt-out.
How Do You Benefit from Participating In a Class Action Lawsuit?
- Smaller Injuries: If a group of people suffer (relatively) minor injuries or financial harm, it might be too expensive to pursue an individual lawsuit. However, when combined with other individuals who suffered similar injuries or harm, the value of the claims adds up and allows for effective prosecution.
- Impractical Litigation: Because a class action lawsuit brings together multiple claims at once, the process is much more efficient. The costs of bringing the case are shared amongst the many class members instead of just one claimant.
- Cost-Savings: Because the litigation is combined, the cost of litigation is greatly reduced in a class action. The same experts, witnesses, and documents can be used once, rather than hundreds or even thousands of times.
What Does It Mean to Opt-Out of a Class Action Lawsuit?
To opt-out means to choose not to participate in the lawsuit. When someone opts out they do not receive any share of the settlement if class representatives win or the defendant decides to settle.
A person who decides to opt-out can file an individual lawsuit at a future date.
TYPICAL CLASS ACTION CLAIMS
There are many issues that are well-suited to class action lawsuits. Some of the most common class action claims include:
Dangerous or defective products cause thousands of injuries annually. Some of the most common injuries are caused by products we use daily such as:
- Pharmaceutical and medical products
- Child care products
- Construction equipment
- Defective hip implants
- Farm machinery
- Household products
In many cases, the responsibility for a product defect that causes injury lies with the sellers, manufacturers, or distributors of the product. If you’ve been injured by a product, you may be eligible for compensation to cover your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Wage & Overtime Claims
If an employer attempts to break the law or circumvent regulations in an effort to cut costs, employees often suffer the most. In many instances, employers will misclassify employees as exempt from overtime, or violate lunch break or minimum wage regulations.
Employees who have been impacted by these types of practices may be eligible to file an individual or class action lawsuit for lost wages, overtime, and penalty damages.
In addition to defective products, consumers often suffer when corporations engage in fraudulent practices so that a product or service does not perform as advertised. For example, when banks overcharge customers for late fees, or debt collectors harass or intimidate debtors.
In these instances, an individual or class action lawsuit may help victims receive the compensation they deserve.
How Do You Start a Class Action Lawsuit?
If you believe you’ve been involved in a situation that warrants a class action lawsuit, the first thing you should do is document any injuries or financial harm as a result of it. For example, if a product has injured you or a family member, be sure to get photos of the products as well as medical records documenting the injury.
If you believe you belong to a class that is involved in a lawsuit, but you have not been notified, there are ways to find the information you need to be a class member:
- Local newspapers carry legal notices with information on class actions.
- You can also find this information online.
Typically, information is available regarding the law firm/attorneys involved. You can use this information to contact the firm and express interest in being involved.
Lastly, you need an experienced class action attorney by your side who can help you organize your claim.
HOW CAN HABUSH HELP?
If you have been involved in a situation that may warrant a class action lawsuit, we can help. Contact our class action lawyers Jason Knutson or Breanne Snapp today at 608-255-6663 to gain a deeper understanding of your rights and learn about how we can fight for you.