Why Do People File Class Action Lawsuits?
Plaintiffs are allowed to sue defendants for injuries in class action lawsuits. These injuries might have been caused by actions or inactions. With any type of litigation, there are advantages and disadvantages to suing for injuries using class action lawsuits. Any potential class member should be aware of these so that they can determine how to best protect their right to compensation.
Advantages of Class Action Lawsuits
Reasons why it might be advantageous to file a class action lawsuit include:
Lowered litigation costs – Costs of suing are shared among all plaintiffs. This allows the group to share expenses with each individual.
An opportunity exists for plaintiffs to get smaller sums of money – The lowered litigation costs let plaintiffs who otherwise could not afford to sue in a traditional lawsuit to do so in a class action suit.
Judicial efficiency – Because the suit is decided by one judge in only one court, there is less cumulative time taken to reach that decision.
More uniform recovery for similar plaintiffs – One judge makes one decision that results in one settlement, making plaintiff’s recoveries consistent.
More uniformity for defendants – One decision with one settlement makes it easier for defendants to know what to expect with regard to following the law pertaining to paying that settlement.
All plaintiffs have the opportunity to receive damages – If a defendant were to face being sued multiple times, they may not be able to pay off every plaintiff. That would mean any plaintiffs filing early would get more compensation than those filing late. Class action lawsuits eliminate this risk and let parties recover their damages at the same time in proportion to their injuries.
Can Settlements Be a Better Alternative?
It depends on the stance taken by the defendant, but a class action suit can take longer or shorter than individual lawsuits. There are some that will drag on for years. Other cases settle within a matter of months.
Usually, the timetable of a lawsuit begins with a complaint being filed by the plaintiff. The parties then do an investigation as to whether the suit falls in with requirements needed for a class action lawsuit. If the court finds it acceptable there may be more investigation involved or the case may settle right there.
According to cooper-firm.com, many class action suits are settled when they are certified or when the defendant believes that they will be. The class members are notified of a proposed settlement and given a chance to join in accepting the terms of the settlement or objecting to the settlement. Litigants get opt-in forms to join. In some cases, doing nothing is the same as accepting the terms. After a response is made, the court determines if the settlement offer is fair or not. If it is, then the individual litigants share in the damages awarded through the court system.