What happens if a person or company wrongs not just one person but a whole group of people? Does everyone need to sue?
While each plaintiff can sue by themselves, they may band together to take on the defendant. When they do so, they file a class action lawsuit.
What is a class action lawsuit, and how do they begin? Keep reading to learn more.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is a civil suit brought by a group of plaintiffs who suffered the same injuries at the hands of the defendant. These plaintiffs come together to file a lawsuit as a “class” when fighting their own individual lawsuits is too time-consuming and resource-intensive.
Can people come together to form their group? Yes, but they only become a class when they have certification from a judge. Certification means a judge agrees that they have a valid claim and that all class members have similar claims.
Often, class action suits are commonly used as a form of civil punishment against a person, business, or other organization who violated a duty of care or even broke the law.
What is a Class?
A “class” is more than one person and can include millions of people. However, not everyone in the class needs to be in court. Instead, a class action lawsuit is helmed by an attorney and a lead plaintiff (or plaintiffs) who are vital examples of the complaint.
A lead plaintiff must have a situation that represents all members of their class. For example, they must share a common injury. Usually, they must also have obtained the damage in a similar way to the rest of the class.
Does everyone in the class need to be involved? Not necessarily. A judge can certify a class, and the plaintiffs are then notified. The class automatically includes them unless they choose to exit the lawsuit using the correct procedure.
What Are the Benefits of a Class Action Suit?
Class action suits help empower individuals and hold those with more resources to account.
More than this, the use of a class action suit allows plaintiffs to receive compensation in a case when suing on their own might have cost them their entire settlement in attorney’s fees. Working together reduces the cost of litigation and spreads it across the whole class.
The other significant benefit is that class actions are speedier than individual suits. If there are 50 members of a class, there is only one case. If they all sued individually, they would clog the court dockets with 50 cases. It could take years for each plaintiff to have their day in court.
Finally, class actions encourage defendants to settle. Class action suits not only garner attention from the community, but the sheer number of plaintiffs encourages them to attempt to remain in control of the final settlement.
Representing a Class is a Challenge
What is a class action lawsuit? It’s a form of civil suit that allows a group of plaintiffs with a common complaint to work together to seek restitution from a defendant.
Class action lawsuits are a challenge for any attorney, but they can be equally rewarding. Once you get a judge to certify a class, you’re more likely to win a settlement rather than fight a court battle.
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