Class action is a kind of litigation wherein a group of people who suffer damages or injury due to the same cause sues the company or manufacturer as a group. Class action may also be called mass tort litigation and/or MDL or multi-district litigation. There are many circumstances when a class action can be used instead of individual lawsuits. In cases where injuries are minimal or when harmful effects takes time before they develop and show symptoms, a class action is considered a better choice. This is because proving the cause is easier if there are more people who back up the claim. All the people who have suffered the injury, minimal as it may be or even if the harmful effects took years to develop, stand as evidence to the claim.
In class actions, lawyers, evidence and all other aspects related to the cases are consolidated to be presented as one case to the court. The victims or plaintiffs who joined the class action will be represented by a “lead plaintiff” in the court. There is obviously lots of work involved so experience and expertise of the lawyers involved is very important to make a successful class action in court.
How can you join a class action?
Before a class action is officially litigated in the court, it is required for the class representative to inform the people who might be affected by this case. Though it is impossible to personally notify everyone, a public announcement is usually made in the television ad/or any print media like magazines and newspapers. Here’s a list of the most common types of cases that can become class actions in Orange County. The court will decide about what the content of this announcement will be. This way, those who were unaware victims or other victims of who are also planning to sue for the same case may “opt in” or join the class action. If they are uninterested, they have the choice to “opt out” or not join the class action as well.
Pros and Cons of Class Action
Class actions can be very complicated and it will need some very comprehensive research. Preparation is key in class actions since in most cases, class actions are taken against big companies and manufacturers who can afford top-notch and expert lawyers for their defense. So even if there are more evidence gathered when there are more people who opt in in class actions, it is still not certain that you will win in the litigation. Here are some pros and cons of joining class actions
- The case is stronger as a class action because of more evidence.
- Litigation is more efficient for the court to hear the case as one against the same company or manufacturer compared to multiple plaintiffs against the same defendant.
- The damage cost can become bigger with more plaintiffs since damages can be magnified.
- It is more efficient to hire an expert team of lawyers than to have at least 1 lawyer for every plaintiff. Class actions have lower cost in terms of litigation.
- If you lose or the case gets dismissed, you lose the right to sue the defendant again as an individual for the same reason it was sued in the class action.
- Whether you joined the class action or not, you cannot sue the same defendant for the issues the class action has already pointed out . Therefore, if you were affected of any class action that are being litigated or to be litigated, it is better to join than not.