Is Joining a Class Action Lawsuit Right for You?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2017.

There is often strength in numbers. This is especially true when going up against a large, powerful corporation with sophisticated legal teams, deep pockets, and access to resources and experts that are out of the reach of most everyday people. So, what to do when you’ve been harmed by a rich and powerful corporation and you know that the same thing has happened to a lot of other people just like you? You might consider becoming part of a class action lawsuit. Class actions are a useful means of achieving justice in situations where:

  • Many people have been harmed, but each individual legal claim is a small one, and it would not make sense to incur the cost of litigation.
  • Joining others to bring a legal action will level the playing field between the wealthy entity being sued and the individual with limited resources. Joining forces with others will increase the ability to successfully pursue a legal action with the help of very experienced and knowledgeable attorneys and improve the likelihood of holding the defendant accountable.
  • You hope to generate widescale publicity and create more awareness of the issue underlying the litigation

It is more efficient when the issues are the same to combine a number of plaintiffs, and each participant in a class action will have a chance to recover compensation which they might not have been able to do in an individual legal action, and the cost of litigation is divided among all of the plaintiffs.

If you believe that you have an injury that has affected a large amount of people, call the Mitchell Law Firm for a free consultation and speak with one of our attorneys about the pros and cons of joining or starting a class action. Our attorneys will guide you through the process, see if there are already similar lawsuits out there, inform you of the pros and cons of filing an individual claim versus a class action, and help you feel confident in whatever decision you make.

Class Action Lawsuit Pros and Cons

If you are considering becoming a part of a class action lawsuit, consider these advantages and disadvantages.

On the plus side:

  • Plaintiffs strengthen their position by virtue of the size of the class of claimants: More plaintiffs means more total power, giving claimants a stronger negotiating position and increasing the likelihood of their being able to settle out of court, which reduces costs, uncertainty, and stress on the court system.
  • Joining with others lowers the cost of litigation: As with most personal injury claims, plaintiffs only pay the attorney fees if they win money, in which case it comes from their award.
  • Longer period of time in which to file a lawsuit: Statutes of Limitations are extended in class actions, giving potential claimants more time to bring suit as compared with an individual claim.
  • A piece of the pie for everyone: If your claim is for a relatively small amount, it is probably just not worth it to go through all the trouble of litigating the matter on your own, not to mention the fact that most attorneys are just too busy to take on small-value cases. Furthermore, defendants are often incapable of paying multiple high value claims, so after the first few settlements there are simply no funds remaining for other claimants who come along. With a class action, you can get your shot at justice and a monetary recovery, even if it is not an extremely large one.
  • Equal payouts for all members of the class action by a single judge may be deemed more fair: If left to individual law suits, there may be a huge disparity between what the various claimants recover.
  • Less strain on the court system: Having only one case, albeit a large one, is more efficient, requiring less time in the courtroom and fewer judges.

These are some of the minuses:

  • Compensation is usually limited to economic damages and rebates: If you want to recover a substantial amount for your pain and suffering or other hard-to-quantify non-economic damages, a class action may not be for you.
  • You have no say in the decisions made during the legal process: As a member of a larger class action, you will be ceding the decision-making power to representative parties and lawyers. If you want more control and personal involvement, an individual action may be a better choice.
  • You give up your right to make an individual claim: If the class action dos not succeed or the award you receive is unsatisfactory, you won’t be able to pursue your claim in an individual action later on.
  • Class actions move slowly: A class action has more complicated legal procedures and is likely to take much longer to resolve than an individual lawsuit.