Class Action Lawsuits 101


Class action lawsuits are typically filed by many plaintiffs against a common defendant. But have you ever been included in a class action lawsuit? 

Before filing a class action lawsuit or joining a class, it’s wise to weigh the possible pros and cons of class actions. Class action attorneys in Los Angeles can help.

What Is a Class Action?

Class action lawsuits allow many people (plaintiffs) to sue a common defendant (or common defendants). The defendant (s) is typically sued for loss or injuries that are common among all class members.

In simple terms, lead plaintiffs act on behalf of an entire class. 

The claims of a lead plaintiff should reflect the claims of the class members. A class should consist of enough members that it makes sense to resolve a grievance through a single proceeding instead of filing individual or separate claims.

Common Types of Class Actions 

Class action lawsuits are common in cases involving defective products, neglectful care, labor laws, deceptive practices, and more. However, all class members must be victims of a similar loss or injury.  

For instance, hundreds or thousands of customers can suffer similar consequences after purchasing a defective product from a common seller. The affected individuals can  form a class and seek justice through a single lawsuit.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Class Action Lawsuits

Class actions have both pros and cons. Let’s dive in.

Pros of Class Actions 

1. Reduced Litigation Costs 

In class actions, litigation costs are typically divided among class members, making the legal cost for each class member much lower. The best part is that members of a class can be in hundreds or thousands.

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2. Relief for Small Compensation

Class actions offer plaintiffs a good way of pursuing justice and receiving relief for what many may consider small or negligible compensation amounts. Sometimes it’s hard to pursue litigation alone; that’s when a class action can be a good option.

3. Convenience and Efficiency 

Class actions combine many cases into one. Additionally, they are handled by a single judge in one court. Combining many cases into one promotes efficiency in the legal system than when many plaintiffs file separate and similar claims.

4. Uniform Decision

Class actions allow all defendants receive a uniform ruling. Also, all plaintiffs receive a joint settlement. Uniformity promotes certainty as defendants have no other similar cases to compare.

Class members receive compensation simultaneously, and the award is divided among all class members depending on the severity of their injuries or loss. Filing individual lawsuits can mean “first come, first serve.” In other words, the first people to file lawsuits may receive compensation, while those who filed their claims later may lose out on payment. Class actions mitigate such risks.

Disadvantages of a Class Action Suit

1. Lack of Control 

 Class members have little control of the decision-making process because the decision of the lead plaintiff is considered final. The lead plaintiffs represent the class members in everything, including making the decision on whether to settle or not. The disadvantage of this is that class members who are not satisfied have no option but to go with the flow.

2. Lack of Alternative Compensation

The common damages in class actions are:

  • Financial awards,
  • Coupons, 
  • Agreements for future services, and
  • Rebates.
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The problem is that a plaintiff may be seeking other settlements that are not provided in class action lawsuits, which may be inconveniencing.

3. Potential Plaintiffs may be Ignored

Potential members for class actions may be overlooked. It’s even worse when potential plaintiffs find out about the filing of a class action claim much later. 

It would be best if you always watched out for notices that invite you to be a class member. Such notices describe the application process, including eligibility. Look at the legal notices in your local newspaper every day or use a website that highlights the case.

4. Class Actions are Final

A significant disadvantage of class action lawsuits is that you cannot appeal the decision. Class members have no alternative legal recourse if a class action is ineffective. 

Simply put, a lost class action means lost compensation. When you join a class action, you lose the right to file an individual claim for the same issue.

How can a Class Action Lawyer Help?

It would be best if you considered the pros and cons of a class action before becoming a class member. Being a class member can be daunting, so that’s why you should consult a skilled and experienced attorney for legal counsel. 

A class action lawyer can evaluate whether you should pursue a class action lawsuit by assessing whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in your situation.

A good class action lawyer will also point out and discuss what you need to do next.

Class actions benefit a group of plaintiffs that have suffered a common loss thanks to the actions or inactions of a common defendant. Always consider the pros and cons of filing a class action before taking the next step.

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