A class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of a group of individuals harmed in the same way (either physically or financially) by the same defendant. How the class action lawsuit proceeds legally is dependent on the case specifics. It starts with one or more “class representatives” filing a lawsuit on behalf of the class they represent.
If the class action case is successful or a settlement is made before trial, the compensation awarded is distributed among the class members. The class members may choose to “opt in” and receive the settlement’s benefits or “opt out” and continue pursuing their claims on their own.
The Foundation of a Class Action Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit starts when the personal injury attorney sues a defendant, representing a designated group of people. In turn, the defendants often respond by submitting a motion to dismiss, arguing that you failed to submit sufficient details to prove the claim.
If the defendant’s request to dismiss is denied, the case proceeds. In the next round, the court will decide whether or not the claims are suitable for group litigation or class action. The following stage is class certification, which refers to the process through which a group is officially recognized as a unified whole. It is at this stage that the scope of a class is defined.
For example, in a security fraud lawsuit, the class may be defined as all individuals who purchased shares in a company within a certain period. In response to an application for class certification, the defendant will claim that the case was not properly filed as a class action. The approval or rejection of class action certification is sometimes the first critical step in a class action lawsuit, and it may often be decisive in the litigation’s fate.
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Recoverable Damages in a Class Action Lawsuit
Compensation for losses is typically warranted when these are sustained due to another party’s negligence. If you join a class action lawsuit, you and the other plaintiffs may get compensation for various losses depending on the nature of the case, including:
- Cost of medical care
- Financial losses
- Pain and suffering
- Suffering from mental distress
- Lost wages
How Long do Class Action Lawsuits Take?
Due to the complex nature of class action lawsuits, it is impossible to estimate how long it may take for the case to be resolved. Class size is one of the factors that may affect how fast a class action is resolved. Typically, a case involving less than a few hundred plaintiffs would go through the system more rapidly than one involving hundreds or thousands.
A class action lawsuit might continue from less than a year up to two years or more, depending on the case’s complexity and whether or not it is settled out of court. The essential thing is that you and the other plaintiffs get compensated for the injuries suffered.
Working with lawyers from The Buzbee Law Firm may help you achieve the best possible result in a class action. Our lawyers can help convey your experience in an evidence-based case. We will assist with every step of the legal procedure, including conducting an investigation, contacting expert witnesses, gathering evidence, and filing paperwork.
What Factors Help Certify a Class Action Lawsuit?
Before class certification, plaintiffs often have limited opportunities for discovery. A judge will consider several criteria while deciding whether to grant class certification. Here are some of them:
You, as a plaintiff, must prove the power of class strength. While there is no fixed rule on how many people need to be part of a class for it to be recognized by the court, most judges will demand at least 100 people to join.
You also must prove that the class members’ claims share similar issues. A class action is possible if the class adversary has engaged in conduct that affects a group of people and gives rise to a cause of action.
Class representatives are burdened with proving that their clients’ claims are “typical” of those filed by class members. Claims are typical if they are founded on the same legal theory as those of the other class members and if they originate from the same incident or course of action that gives rise to the claims of the other class members.
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When Should You File a Class Action Lawsuit?
Our experienced Texas class action attorneys can advise you on the best time to bring a class action suit and—more importantly—if it is in your best interest to participate. Consult our attorneys to find out more about any limitations that might apply to your case.
Once a lawsuit is certified by the court as a class action, any member may opt out upon receiving notice that they have been included in the class action. If you don’t opt out and the lawsuit secures compensation, you will be eligible to receive your share of the damages.
Furthermore, lead plaintiffs may be eligible for additional compensation in the form of a “service award” or “incentive award.” Such awards are at the discretion of the court.