What Are Class Action Lawsuits?
In a class action lawsuit, only one lawsuit is filed on behalf of an entire group of injured parties. Very often, for example, such lawsuits unite many individuals and go after a large company that has produced defective products that have causes injury or loss to every individual member of the class action lawsuit. The settlement that such a lawsuit results in is typically divided between all of the individual plaintiffs.
What Are the Advantages of a Class Action Lawsuit?
One of the most obvious advantages of a class action lawsuit is that it reduces litigation costs for each individual member of the lawsuit. The drawback of that is that the total settlement that the lawsuit can grant will have to be divided between all members of the class, which often dramatically decreases the amount of money that every person gets. Attorney’s fees typically end up as a large percentage of the settlement as well. However, another advantage of class action lawsuits is they allow individuals to seek court relief for relatively small amounts of money – something that otherwise would be difficult to do due to the large attorney’s fees and court expenses. Class action lawsuits are also decided in a more efficient way because they are typically decided in one court by one judge.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Class Action Lawsuit?
One of the disadvantages of a class action lawsuit is the lack of control an individual member has over such matters as the litigation strategy, choice of an attorney, as well as any kind of say in how much to settle for or when to settle. If an individual believes that his injuries or losses are higher than those of the other members of the lawsuit, it would make more sense to opt out of the class action lawsuit and instead to file a separate lawsuit. This is because once you become a member of a class action lawsuit, you waive the right to file a separate lawsuit.
Should I Exclude Myself from a Class Action Lawsuit?
If you are a member of a class of injured consumers, you will typically be included in a class action lawsuit automatically, unless you explicitly exclude yourself. One of the reasons some people chose to exclude themselves from class action lawsuits is that by participating in such a lawsuit, the individual waives his right to file a separate lawsuit. Typically, after a class action lawsuit is initiated, all injured consumers receive a class action notice in the mail. It is important to read the notice carefully before choosing whether to opt out of the lawsuit.
In order to opt out of a class action lawsuit, you would need to submit a statement that you would like to “opt out” of the lawsuit to the class action attorney of a particular case. The statement would have to include all the necessary information about the lawsuit, your name, address as well as signature. It is important to remember that by excluding yourself from a class action lawsuit, you are waiving any rights to any favorable settlement of that lawsuit.