Class action lawsuits work to unify a collection of similar claims to save time and avoid repeated proceedings. As a result, it’s possible to bring justice to large groups of people who have been affected by unlawful practices of a company or government and hold those parties accountable. However, you may wonder what is awarded in a class action lawsuit and how it may impact your livelihood.
If you are pursuing a class action lawsuit, work alongside the talented attorneys at Olivier & Schreiber LLP. We’re committed to protecting your rights and helping you secure the results you need. Contact us to review your specific case and provide detailed legal guidance.
In a class action, the entire group of plaintiffs is treated as a single entity by the court system. Therefore, the judge’s final decision will be applied to the entire group. If the judge agrees with the defendant and the case is dismissed, none of the class members will pursue additional legal action. If the judge sides with the class, the court will determine the award, which is split among the entire class. Often, the class representative and their attorney can reach a settlement prior to the case going to the judge. While members of the class don’t hold decision-making power, the plaintiff can speak in their favor.
At the conclusion of a class action case, the judge needs to approve a strategy for the defendant’s distribution of payout, which is the award granted to individual members of the class action. Typically, every individual plaintiff receives an equal part of the award, which is a specific dollar figure. Sometimes, the compensation may be distributed according to an individual review of the damages suffered by each plaintiff; however, this method is less common.
One of the main advantages of a class action lawsuit is that all plaintiffs win some amount of compensation. The defendant would likely have filed for bankruptcy protection if every case had proceeded separately. A class action circumvents this possibility since the payout awarded by the court is given to every member in the lawsuit.
For instance, say that a drug company did not provide adequate warnings of potentially fatal medication side effects. The class action lawsuit may have cost millions of dollars, and every participant and their surviving family members received several thousand dollars in compensation. While this amount may not cover all bills and other costs, it is a notably higher amount than the plaintiffs would have received in individual lawsuits, as the drug company would have gone bankrupt beforehand.
Class action claims are very efficient, but there are certain drawbacks. It is often challenging to receive the total amount of compensation you need for your injuries, especially when there are thousands or even millions of members in the lawsuit. If you’ve suffered significant injuries or financial damages, you may be better off opting out of the class action and working individually with an attorney at a later date.
If you’d like to discover what legal strategy would be most suitable for your case, talk to our attorneys at Olivier & Schreiber LLC.
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