Class action and mass injury lawsuits
What is a class action lawsuit?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more people, called class representatives, sue on behalf of people with similar claims. These persons constitute the “class” and collectively are the “class members.” In a single action, a single court resolves the legal issues for all class members, which conserves judicial and litigant resources and ensures consistent legal rulings.
There are many types of class action lawsuits, but most involve a large group of similarly situated people suing one or more large corporations for unlawful conduct. Class action lawsuits can involve:
- consumer fraud
- investor fraud and insider trading
- employee mistreatment
- data breaches and privacy violations
- defective products
- environmental disasters
How do I join a class action or mass injury lawsuit?
When one or more people, called “class representatives,” file their class action lawsuit, the class representatives sue on behalf of all persons with similar claims. The class representatives and those with similar claims are called a “class” and are referred to as “class members.”
Importantly, not all lawsuits by large groups of people are class actions. Mass personal injury suits resulting from prescription drugs or defective medical implants are typically numerous individual lawsuits coordinated in a specific state or federal court.
Some current Class Action and Mass Injury Lawsuits
If you wish to join a class action, mass injury action, file an individual lawsuit, or have a general question about your legal rights, contact us for a free case review.
Your first step is determining if your claim, issue, or problem is included in a pending class action or mass injury action. To determine if your claims are part of a class or mass injury action or to determine if you are a class member, you should read the class definition or description in a relevant complaint. Alternatively, you can speak with an experienced professional in class actions and mass injury actions.
Class actions may be limited in several ways. The class may be limited to those persons who live within a particular state. The class may be limited to persons who purchased a particular product during a specific period. The class definition and scope are highly case-specific.
If you are part of the class or are a class member, your claims are usually preserved until the court decides whether to certify the class. “Certifying” a class means the court permits the case to proceed as a class action, allowing class members’ claims to proceed to trial in a single action or lawsuit.
If the court certifies a class, the court will require notice to be sent to all class members. The notice will explain your legal rights and the nature of the lawsuit. If the matter settles before certification, the notice may also contain information on how to obtain compensation. You may have received a class notice via mail or email or read a class action notice in your local paper.
If you are not a class member, you may wish to speak with an attorney to inquire about your rights.
What is a class action settlement?
In a class action settlement, the court does not decide in favor of any particular party or member. Instead, both sides called the “plaintiffs” and the “defendants,” agreed to settle the case.
The settlement avoids delay, high costs, and expenses of continued litigation and trial, and persons affected by the alleged misconduct are guaranteed settlement relief if they accept the settlement.
To determine if you are entitled to money, replacement, or other compensation from a class action settlement, you must first determine if you are a class member or part of the class.
How do I know if I am part of a class action settlement?
When a class action lawsuit is filed, there generally is a description in the complaint defining the proposed class, or the complaint may describe who qualifies as a class member. When a class action lawsuit is settled, the judge decides those persons who fit the description in the settlement notice is a class member.
What happens if I do nothing in response to a class action settlement notice?
You will not receive any money or relief from the settlement if you do nothing. Unless you exclude yourself from the class settlement, you cannot file your own lawsuit, continue a case, or be part of any other lawsuit against the settling defendants concerning the legal issues in the settling class action matter.
How can I get payment from a class action settlement?
To qualify for payment from a class action settlement, you must be a class member and send in a valid claim form. You may receive a claim form in the mail. Or you may submit your information online at a settlement website expressly set up for a particular class action. Read the claim form instructions carefully. Follow all instructions on the claim form. Submit your claim on time.
How are the lawyers paid in a class action?
Lawyers for the class typically will ask the court for attorney’s fees and expenses, and the parties may also seek compensation for the class representatives. The court decides how much to award to class counsel and, if appropriate, the class representatives. The defendants will often pay the payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses. Other times, fees and costs may be paid from the class action settlement fund, which also is used to compensate class members.
How does the court decide whether to approve a class action settlement?
The court holds a fairness hearing. At the hearing, the court considers whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are timely objections, the court will consider them. After the fairness hearing, the court will finally decide whether to approve the settlement.
If you have questions, you can request a free, confidential consultation.