5 Frequently Asked Questions About Class-Action Lawsuits

July 13, 2016 @ 9:16 am

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Updated: 12/10/2021

Class action lawsuits may grab headlines and make for compelling news stories, but many people do not understand the scope of these legal cases and the impact they may have on future laws and regulations. More importantly, few people understand how these lawsuits can impact them personally or how to get involved if they are affected. Here are five important things to understand about class action lawsuits:

1. What is a Class-action Lawsuit?  

In a class-action lawsuit, a group of citizens will collectively sue another party, which is often a corporation or organization. Although there are many plaintiffs, the affected group agrees to pursue legal action as a single unit in order to gain more traction and limit individual costs. While this makes sense to Americans, many people around the world do not have this opportunity. The modern conception of class action lawsuits began in 1966 when the American Federal Rules for Civil Procedure was revised and clarified. This largely coincided with the Civil Rights Movement, and class action lawsuits were seen as a viable means of seeking change and justice. Other countries have adopted similar laws, but class-action lawsuits remain a predominantly American experience.

2. How Many People Do You Need for a Class-action Lawsuit?

Class action lawsuits must satisfy several criteria in order to move ahead in the legal system. One of the critical considerations is the number of people who join the suit. Legally speaking, there is no set number required for a class-action lawsuit to move ahead, but most cases that are approved have hundreds of plaintiffs. Having this many participants gives the case validity in court, effectively establishing the case’s innate merits. For plaintiffs, however, these numbers mean power. Most of the time, class action lawsuits are more effective at eliciting a response from larger corporations, many of which shrug off small lawsuits as part of normal business.

3. What are Your Individual Rights in a Class-action Lawsuit?

For all the power that a class action lawsuit can give you, it is important to remember that these lawsuits may require some sacrifice from participants. If you join a class-action lawsuit, you often give up the right to pursue legal action on your own. This means that you may have to live with whatever the verdict of the lawsuit is even if it does not satisfactorily address your situation. This is why all participants need to consider their individual situation carefully before signing onto a class action lawsuit. In some cases, you may have a better chance at a meaningful court victory if you file a suit on your own.

4. What is the Average Payout for a Class-action Lawsuit?

Joining a class action lawsuit is easy, and can save money by sharing expenses with other claimants. However, while corporations may ultimately settle some class action lawsuits, it does not guarantee a large payout for members who have joined a class. The success of a class-action lawsuit depends on many factors, including the likelihood that a case within the class would win on its own.

3 of the Most Influential Class-action Lawsuits

5. How Do I Start or Join a Class-action Lawsuit?

Before you decide to join a class-action lawsuit, it is critical to discuss the case with a lawyer you trust. At Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett and Haik, our lawyers have extensive experience in handling class action lawsuits. If you would like more information on these types of cases or get an objective assessment of what you might stand to lose or gain from your involvement in one, contact our team today. Schedule your free consultation online or by calling 800-356-6776, and let us help you determine the legal action best suited for you.

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