What Are Class Action Lawsuits And How Can You Join One?

April 25, 2017 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
What Are Class Action Lawsuits And How Can You Join One?

Class action lawsuits are those pursued by groups of consumers who have been similarly injured by a product or action. These groups of consumers are referred to as a class. Consumers often decide to consolidate their complaints because it would be impractical or impossible to file individual lawsuits. In some cases, the plaintiffs sustained only minor injuries, so they might not be able to pursue lawsuits on their own. There are several things you need to know about class action lawsuits.

Types Of Class Action Lawsuits

There are numerous types of class action cases, including:
  • Lawsuits filed by groups of consumers after large-scale accidents, such as a train or airplane crash
  • Claims involving homeowners who suffered property damage from a natural disaster, like a storm
  • Lawsuits from consumers who were deceived by the marketing of a product
  • Lawsuits from a class of employees who suffered discrimination by an employer
  • Consumers who lost savings due to corporate fraud by executives at a publicly-traded company
Consumers can also form a class to file a lawsuit over a defective product, drug or medical device. Some of the defective product class actions pursued by O’Connor, Acciani & Levy include:
  • Takata airbags
  • Prilosec
  • Bair Hugger warming blanket

How To Join A Class Action Lawsuit

If you are affected by the decision in a class action, you are entitled to notification of the action. While it is not always possible to notify all qualifying parties, best efforts are made to do so. If you are notified that you are part of a class that is pursuing a lawsuit, you can join by opting into the legal action. In some situations, class members are automatically classed together and are unable to opt out, such as when the action concerns injuries caused by certain defendants.

Why Join A Class Action Lawsuit?

Joining a class action lawsuit allows plaintiffs to consolidate attorneys and resources. This makes a class action more practical, efficient and cost-effective than each plaintiff pursuing a case on his or her own. If you pursue a case on your own, the defendant could be bankrupted before you have a chance to go to trial or reach a settlement. Joining a class action with an experienced class action attorneys helps to ensure you receive some amount of damages. However, the amount of compensation you receive from a class action verdict or settlement will likely be smaller than what you would receive in an individual lawsuit.

How Are Class Action Attorneys Compensated?

Class action attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, just like a personal injury attorney. That means attorneys receive a portion of the money recovered in the case. However, if the case is unsuccessful, the attorneys are usually paid nothing.

Filing A Class Action Lawsuit

When a class action lawsuit is filed, the first step is for the court to decide if the lawsuit is valid, using a process called class certification. If the class is certified, the plaintiffs and defendants will proceed toward trial. At any point, either side may attempt to settle the claim. However, the court must approve the settlement. Once approved, the court will issue an order demanding that all class action members be notified. The attorneys of O’Connor, Acciani & Levy have the experience and legal knowledge you need to file a successful class action lawsuit. We work to hold companies accountable while pursuing the highest amount of compensation possible for our clients.