When you don’t get what you should have, a class action lawsuit can be a worthwhile way to receive the money they owe you. Most people know they should hire a lawyer and file a suit, but many don’t know how to start a class action lawsuit.
Certain procedures are followed before you can file a class action lawsuit with a class action attorney. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
What Is Class Action
First, let’s define “what is class action.” It is a type of legal action or suit where one party is actually a group of people. A class action lawyer represents them collectively.
The concept of class action began in the U.S. It is mostly a phenomenon in the United States; however, Canada and some countries in Europe (that have civil law) have brought forth these types of claims.
How to Start Class Action
To start class action lawsuits, there was an injury that hurt you. It does not have to be a physical injury. It could be an economic injury that you incurred.
That said, just because you are mad at the situation, this does not rise to the level of a class action or class action worthy. You must follow a procedure to be certified that the lawsuit is a class action.
Your defendants in the case do not want you to file a class action. And often, the injury that the class action members suffered is not enough for one individual lawsuit.
There is power and safety in numbers. So, defendants in the case have an excellent reason they don’t want it to rise to the level of a class action.
Class Action Process
When your class action lawyer helps you file the case, your class action attorney will request that the court considers all parties as one, thus, a class action suit. This will allow all plaintiffs to be under the same class action lawyer, which is a benefit in terms of efficiency.
To begin, one person will file, with the court, a complaint. This lays out the legal grounds for such a lawsuit, and in the original complaint, the class action attorney will request certification for a class action lawsuit.
There is no guarantee that the judge will grant the request. What you want is the class action to be certified, as this permits all plaintiffs to continue together. Should the judge decide not to certify the class action, the lawsuit will come to an end.
A defendant will always oppose this request. There is safety in numbers, so they definitely don’t want a class action to be certified. If the judge denies the request, the defendant believes that he or she will be in a better position of being not held accountable.
Rules of Civil Procedure for Certification
One requirement to request certification is that the group, or class, of plaintiffs, is so big that it is not a good use of time for the court to handle each lawsuit separately. Courts vary in how big the group must be; however, most want 40 or more to certify a class action. It must be clear who is a member of the class and who is not, with no ambiguities.
Next, the court must consider if all the plaintiffs suffered the same injury if there are common issues. It is not a square lawsuit.
If the class action group has a lot of complexity, this can be a challenge. It can still be possible, though, which is why you should consult with a class action lawyer.
Last, to file a class action and get it certified, you must have suffered the same way that everyone else in the class has. If your case is a consumer one, this shouldn’t be difficult. Again, ask a class action attorney for a better understanding.
What the Class Action Must Contain
After you filed the class action, all individuals who may be in the “class” need to be notified. The court and the parties ensure that they have attempted to let the class members know that the class action lawsuit exists. The information contained in the notices varies depending on the location where the suit is filed.
Maybe you were planning on suing, but you received something in the mail labeled “Notice of Class Action Lawsuit.” This piqued your interest. Should you join the bandwagon?
The Value of a Class Action Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit is worth it, yes, no doubt about it. You should know, when you hire a lawyer, how they are paid. Often it is on contingency, so the attorney will receive no compensation unless they are successful in a settlement or verdict.
Another way to look at it is that filing a class action lawsuit costs nothing. You don’t need to pay out of your pocket, and the class action attorney takes on the risk. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
How Is the Money Divided?
When you win, a class action attorney will take a percentage first and cover the legal fees. The court restricts the percentage for the attorney to ensure fairness and that it is a sensible amount.
You may think that it divides the leftover evenly amongst the group, which is not the case. The most money from a class action lawsuit goes to the lead plaintiff. Usually, it is the lead plaintiff that has the most damages and worst injuries.
There is no risk to file a class action lawsuit, and the only thing that it may cost you is your time. Hopefully, you will recover money from your injury that you wouldn’t have been able to recoup otherwise. You can consider the lost money to now be “found money.”
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