When a group of people sustains the same or similar injuries from the same product or set of circumstances, they can sue the negligent party as a group. This is a class action lawsuit. Class actions are typically stronger than someone pursuing a single personal injury claim. This is because the lawyers, evidence, witnesses, and other aspects of litigation are combined against the defendant. If you believe you have grounds to take part in a class action, our Chicago class action lawyers may be able to represent you.
What Is a Class Action?
In some cases, claims are too small to litigate individually in state or federal court. But, when a number of individuals come together with their claims against the same party, a class action is formed. It’s important to note that because of the involved parties, wrongdoings, and remedies, class action lawsuits can take years to process in court. With the right lawyer, however, the process can move faster.
In the event the defendant loses, the victims are given a percentage of the remedy that is established. If there are too many victims or it’s difficult to determine the exact number of people impacted, a fund is established to provide compensation to anyone who can prove they were harmed by the negligent actions and submit their claims in a timely manner.
Common Types of Class Action Lawsuits
The type of class action that’s filed is based on the product or service that injured people. The classes may be defined as limited fund action, declarative or injunctive relief classes, or classes seeking monetary damages.
A limited fund action refers to a lawsuit that ensures all plaintiffs receive relief and that early filers don’t raid the fund of its assets before the others involved can be compensated. A declarative or injunctive relief class means the damages are incidental to the relief and based on objective standards, rather than based on individual circumstances. In order for a class to seek monetary damages, the court must ensure the class action is the best legal route for resolving the claims
Types of Class Action Lawsuits
- Dangerous Drugs. When a pharmaceutical company or drug manufacturer releases a dangerous drug, a significant number of people may be injured. In order to avoid a class action, pharmaceutical companies need to develop better testing procedures and safer products. Common class action lawsuits involve defective drugs, defective contraceptives, and defective surgical materials.
- Civil Rights. Class action lawsuits are effective for resolving civil rights matters. More recent lawsuits have involved fair conduct in workplaces, sexual discrimination policies, and unfair treatment of people with disabilities.
- Finance. When there are issues concerning security breaches or predatory lending, the victims can take part in a class action lawsuit. These lawsuits encourage changes to practices to protect the interests of future customers and visitors.
- Environment. Pollution and unclean water don’t just affect one person. Large groups of individuals can be impacted. When properties are contaminated, the people in the area are at risk of getting sick. Additionally, it’s possible for property values to decrease. Class actions involving environmental claims strive to get the defendants to change their ways to stop and avoid polluting the environment and wrongfully harming people.
While the class actions discussed above are the most common, this is not a complete list. There are other areas where a class action lawsuit can be filed. If you have questions regarding the types of claims we can file for you that would establish a class, our lawyers can review your situation and tell you if a class action would be the proper legal course to get you the compensation you need to recover.
The Class Action Lawsuit Filing Process
A class action cannot begin until one or several plaintiffs file a claim against the defendant on behalf of the proposed class. The proposed class is those who suffered a common injury or damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
When the class action has been filed, the defendant has the right to object to the motion. They may claim the matter is being inappropriately handled because the plaintiffs aren’t sufficiently representative of the class or there are relationships with the law firms handling the cases. For the proposed class to be certified and surpass the objection, the following requirements must be met:
- Individuals lawsuits would be impractical because of the size of the class
- Common factual or legal claims exist
- The claims are typical of the plaintiffs
- The defenses are typical of the defendants
- The legal representatives have to protect the interests of the class
- The party can show that common issues dominate the litigation
Once the class has been certified, which is the most important step, the case can move on to pre-trial procedures. If the class is not certified, the lawsuit is dismissed. Just because a class has been certified does not mean the judge believes the defendant is at fault. It does, however, mean that there is sufficient evidence to initiate a legitimate lawsuit against the defendant.
How Can You Benefit from a Class Action?
There are a number of advantages to pursuing a class action as opposed to handling a legal matter individually. The first is that the costs associated with filing a class action are typically lower. This is because the litigation costs are divided among the members of the suit. Many class actions are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means the plaintiffs only pay if they win the case. Additionally, out-of-pocket costs aren’t usually an issue because the lawyer typically gets paid out of the money that’s recovered.
Class actions are also more efficient and certain. A lot of time is saved because the lawsuit is decided in one court, by one judge, which means the court only has to hear one case instead of many similar ones. When one judge makes the decision, the plaintiffs’ recoveries will be consistent. This will ensure all victims receive the compensation they need.
Additionally, there’s a higher chance of financial recovery. Individual suits often run on a first-come, first-served basis. If, for example, many individuals sue the defendant at the same time, those who filed earlier have a greater chance of recovery. A class-action eliminates the risk and gives all injured parties a chance to recover equally.
Take Control of Your Recovery with Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been injured and believe you have grounds to take part in a class action lawsuit, seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney as soon as possible is crucial. Class actions are complex legal matters that need an experienced lawyer to get the right result.
No matter how you were injured or what caused your injuries, the company or entity responsible should be held accountable for their errors. To learn more about how we can help, contact our Chicago class action lawyers today. We’ll start by reviewing your claim and help you determine how best to proceed based on your unique circumstances.