Most people have heard of class action lawsuits, but how do these cases actually work? At its most basic, a class action is a lawsuit in which a group of people have suffered similar injuries or damages caused by the same action or product. Class action lawsuits can come in many forms, including consumer fraud (such as defective products or false advertising), employment (like unpaid overtime), environmental disasters, security fraud, antitrust, consumer rights, and violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It's unknown how many class actions are filed every year but the number is likely to be in the thousands.
Class action lawsuits happen when several people suffer the same type of damages or injuries as a result of a defendant's actions or product. Many class action lawsuits are the result of widespread harm or financial damage to consumers. Some cases involve defective medical products, for example, that have led to pain, disfigurement, repeat surgeries, and even death.
Class action settlements are often in the millions. One of the largest settlements in history was recently announced when Volkswagen agreed to pay $14.7 billion over its history of emissions issues with its diesel engine vehicles. Apple also recently settled a $400 million case over price fixing on ebooks.
With a class action lawsuit comes strength in numbers. By allowing all harmed consumers to bring action together, a class action makes it financially feasible to litigate, especially when individual claims are not very high but combined the claim is worth thousands or millions. Class action lawsuits also come with a higher likelihood of financial recovery and more experienced legal representation. Here's how a class action case really works.
Class actions begin when a single consumer or a group of plaintiffs file a class action complaint. A process called Class certification must also occur where a judge determines whether the potential Class Members share injuries or damages that are similar enough to justify consolidating the complaints into a single lawsuit. Both federal and state courts can hear class action lawsuits.
If you qualify to be a Class Member in a class action case, you can choose to opt in or out of the lawsuit. If you do not participate, your rights are not bound by the outcome of the case. In most cases, class action lawsuits settle before going to trial. When the settlement is approved, notice must be sent to all Class Members with instructions for receiving their share.
If you believe you have suffered harm that could have affected many other individuals, you may have a qualifying class action. It's important to seek experienced legal counsel as class action lawsuits are very complex and may require collaboration among several law firms. At Zanes Law, we represent consumers who have suffered harm from major companies. Zanes Law always strives for the best possible outcome for you and your family while seeking justice for the injuries you have suffered at the hands of a large corporation. We work on a contingency-fee basis which means you pay nothing unless we win your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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