How a Class-Action Lawsuit Works
March 18, 2021 | Commercial Litigation & Class Actions
Class-action lawsuits seek justice for a group of individuals or entities against a single defendant. If people suffer damage from an organization, corporation, or a single person, they can file a case. The affected persons may hire an attorney to file a single legal action as a group. This legal action is known as a class-action lawsuit. Here are the basics of how class-action lawsuits work and how to join a class-action suit.
Filing a Class-Action Lawsuit
Groups often file class-action lawsuits against private and public institutions, employers, and government entities. These lawsuits may arise over any damage, from loss of property and environmental damage to defective products.
When damages extend across a large group of individuals, those people may decide to file a legal action. In class-action lawsuits, individuals generally stand a much higher chance of winning than when filing alone. The combined threat of paying damages to a large number of people is usually enough incentive for the defendant to make a settlement offer.
Class actions also help to save time and resources because courts don’t have to hear a large number of single claims involving the same grievance.
To file a class-action lawsuit, the class should consider hiring an attorney. The attorney then collects information from the group in order to file a substantial claim.
How to Join a Class-Action Suit
Ideally, class-action lawsuits involve people with common legal interests. The persons enjoined in this lawsuit are plaintiffs who are members of a “class.” A class usually must consist of at least several dozen members for the best chance of being certified by a judge.
Usually, when a class is certified, the court will order that every member of the class be notified, and you will also be notified when a settlement is reached. However, if you think you qualify as a member of a class and have not received a notice, you should contact the class action attorney to be added as a member of the class.
How Long Does a Class-Action Lawsuit Take?
Class-action lawsuits may last months or even years, depending on the complexity of the claim. Many cases take two to three years before reaching a verdict.
Class-action takes a long time because of the many people involved in a single case. Reaching out to every plaintiff to inform them of the case and to gather their stories and evidence can take some time.
Lawsuits may also take longer if the defendant appeals the ruling. You can avoid long waiting periods if both the plaintiff and defendant accept the ruling.
How Settlements Are Divided
If you are a plaintiff, you will receive compensation if the class-action lawsuit verdict goes in your favor. Each person fills out a claim form to receive their portion of the settlement proceeds. Sometimes, you can receive your settlement automatically without having to fill out a claim form.
Each member of the class will be claiming damages for injury from the product, contamination, or other cause, but their settlements may be different based on their circumstances. Settlement amounts and how they are divided among class members will differ on a case-by-case basis. Individuals of the same class may receive different amounts based on their length of exposure, type and severity of injury, age, etc.
If the case doesn’t win, you won’t be compensated, but there is also no monetary loss for the individual members upon losing the lawsuit. Attorneys often agree to contingent fees such that they can only receive a fixed percentage of the settlement.
Are Class-Action Suits Effective?
Class-action lawsuits are efficient for all parties. Plaintiffs can pool resources against a single defendant while judges handle a single case. The defendant doesn’t have to prepare a defense against multiple parties.
Many class-action suits result in significant settlements. For example, Napoli Shkolnik’s class-action attorneys recently secured a settlement after residents of Dimock, Pennsylvania, filed a class-action lawsuit against a natural gas company for water contamination. In the end, the plaintiffs won a multimillion-dollar settlement for the damages caused by methane gas harvesting.
Another recent class-action case involved the drug Pradaxa, which caused injuries for approximately 4,000 patients using the medication. Napoli Shkolnik’s lawyers negotiated a $650 million settlement from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for the members of this class.
Find the Right Attorney for a Class-Action Lawsuit
Looking to file a class-action lawsuit? At Napoli Shkolnik, we help you file claims against parties infringing on your rights to receive justice for injuries and damages. Contact us today for assistance on class-action lawsuits.
How Can We Help?
Do you need assistance with a legal matter? Our attorneys have the experience needed to guide you in the right direction.