A class action lawsuit is when one person (or a few people) sue a negligent corporation on behalf of the entire group of people who could have incurred damages, known as class members. The person filing the legal complaint is known as a class representative.
Potential class members may be notified directly via mail or email or by advertisements after the court approves the case as a class-action lawsuit and/or after a preliminary settlement is reached. If you receive notification of a class action lawsuit that applies to you, you can decide whether you want to participate.
In most cases, you will be included automatically in the class unless you opt out and no further action will be required by you.
Class members have a passive role throughout class action litigation. If the lawsuit is successful, all class members receive equal compensation, which is awarded to all class members, regardless of the degree of harm they suffered.
Joining the class means you’re eligible for compensation, but you waive the right to file a separate lawsuit. If you have been harmed significantly more than other consumers, consult a lawyer before deciding to exclude yourself from the class.
Class actions often end in a settlement instead of going to trial, where compensation is ordered by a judge.
However, the settlement must receive final approval from the court after parties involved are given the opportunity to object to or appeal a settlement.
Class members generally receive payment about six to nine months after a settlement agreement is submitted to the court for preliminary approval according to the National Consumer Law Center.
You may choose to opt out of or not join a class action suit to preserve your right to bring your own lawsuit. You will not receive compensation if the class wins in court. If your damages are significantly larger than those of the other members of the class, consult with an attorney to determine if you would benefit from opting out.
If you have questions or concerns about the possibility of acting as a class representative or joining a class action lawsuit, call us today to discuss your situation and possible developing legal options.
Contact the Arnold Law Firm at (916) 777-7777.