What Is Involved in a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit involves multiple individuals who have suffered the same harm resulting from the same conduct of a person or business. Class actions allow one or more plaintiffs to file and pursue a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group, which is called “the Class.”
The Class benefits greatly by pursuing one lawsuit together. In many class actions, the actual injury may not be worth pursuing individually, due to the time and expense involved in litigation. However, when substantial numbers of people suffer the same injury, a class action attorney can of great assistance in presenting a claim. Therefore, most class action claims involve a large corporation or business taking advantage of large groups of individuals, or “class members.” Further, membership in a class costs nothing, and not every member needs to attend court proceedings. Generally, a class representative will be chosen as the lead plaintiff to represent every members’ interests. In class action litigation, your attorney is only paid if he or she is successful in the claim.
Class action lawsuits may involve defective products that have endangered, hurt or killed people. They may also involve unfair, deceptive or misleading consumer practices, data breaches, unfair insurance practices and other corporate misconduct. Employment-related class actions may be filed when a company violates rules meant to protect its employees and ensure they receive the proper wages for their work. No matter the cause of the harm, victims deserve justice, and they gain power when they join together to make the wrongdoer take responsibility.
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Types of Class Action Lawsuits
Class actions are as varied as traditional liability suits, but they differ because of the sheer number of litigants. There are many situations where class action lawsuits make more sense than individual lawsuits. A few examples are:
- Medical Class Actions – Patients who took a prescription drug that had dangerous side effects, and the manufacturer knew of these side hazards but failed to warn the public, may begin a class action law suit if they were seriously injured as a result of the medication.
- Workplace Discrimination – In cases of racial, gender or age discrimination, it is rare that a business or corporation has only abused one employee. Those employees who suffered discrimination can file a lawsuit against the business that discriminated against them.
- Environmental Disaster – When many homes or businesses are affected by an environmental disaster (such as an oil spill or hurricane), they may come together to sue the oil company or negligent insurance providers.
- Inflated Product Purchase by Consumers – When corporations conspire to fix prices, they are cheating the system. When corporations inflate costs for small businesses and consumers, those businesses and consumers may file a class action law suit against the price fixers.
- People Deceived by Big Business – Whether a group bought the same defective product or false advertising manipulated them, when a large group of consumers are deceived by big business, they may have a case. Together members of a consumer class action can sue the negligent provider or the business that engaged in consumer fraud or manipulative business practices.
- Securities Fraud Losses – If executives of a publicly-traded company commit security fraud, causing investors to lose their savings, the group of people who lost their savings can sue the executives or the corporation through class action litigation.
- Breach of Private Communications – When a corporation records private communications without the knowledge or consent of its consumers or employees, the group whose privacy was breached may sue the corporation.
The Importance of Class Action Lawsuits
Because of the power of big business and the vastness of their reach, one individual suing a company may have little chance of winning. In these David vs. Goliath situations, the power rests in the hands of the many. Of course, if all the people who were injured by a medical device brought forth individual lawsuits, the courts would be constantly busy and little would get done. Both in fairness and from a practical perspective, when there is one defendant and many plaintiffs suffering from the same issues, it makes sense for them to file together.
The courts created class action lawsuits to advance public policy goals and protect those people businesses wish to keep quiet. Sometimes, a class action case is the only way that those who have been injured or manipulated to remedy the injustices of powerful million-dollar corporations. If a product has hurt you, you likely are not the only one.
Talk to a Class Action Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation
Anapol Weiss is a leading class action law firm with experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys ready to take on your case. Class action lawsuits are one of the practice areas our attorneys specialize in.
Class action lawsuits are an integral component of consumer protection, as they help protect others from the negligence or greed of corporations. You may have a potential class action case if you were harmed by a company’s product, false advertising, breach of privacy, or experienced securities fraud. Don’t be afraid to take legal action. To learn more, talk to a class action lawsuit lawyer today for a free consultation.