Class Action Lawsuits Explained

With the growth of giant corporations, greed and corruption, class action lawsuits are rising in number to fight them. Intended to help the “common man” or the “little guy,” class action lawsuits are one of the few protections available to American consumers when federal and state laws fail to defend them.

Class Action Lawsuits Explained

The Ohio State Bar Association defines a class action lawsuit as “a lawsuit in state or federal court that is brought by one individual, or a few individuals, on behalf of a larger class of people similarly situated.” The group may have similar wrongs and damages, such as:

  • People who have been hurt by defective products, such as parents of children who were harmed by malfunctioning toys or people who were injured using a particular product
  • Victims of unsafe drugs that cause complications such as illnesses, permanent injury or even death
  • Employees bringing action against an employer for a common complaint
  • Residents in a specific geographical area who have been harmed by environmental pollution

A class action lawsuit typically seeks some type of compensation for the harm that has come to members of the class. Often, the claims of each individual are not large enough to justify expensive litigation, but by combining all the small dollar claims of a bigger group of people, the expense of litigation can be justified.

Class Action Lawsuits Common

American corporations have a duty to increase profits every year. Sometimes, they cut corners on consumer protections and safety to reach their profit goals. Because of this, class actions are common.

Without class action lawsuits, companies could harm consumers and face no consequences. Consumers could suffer damages valued in the thousands without a practical way to reclaim that money. Class actions ensure that corporations who harm many consumers pay for their misdeeds. They also serve as a preventative measure to encourage other companies to not engage in similar harmful behavior.

Those who join a class action lawsuit must agree to whatever settlement is made on the case. They cannot settle as part of a class action and then sue individually. For this reason, consumers can opt out of a class action lawsuit to pursue individual claims.

Class Action Notices

If you receive a class action notice, take time to look over the fine print and gather all details before you decide to opt out of the class action. If you opt out, you must return paperwork that clarifies you have decided not to be included in the class action suit. This is very important if you are considering filing your own personal action in a particular case.

Class action lawsuits often settle out of court. A trial is not necessary when all parties agree on the value of damages and fairness of a settlement. Some settlements will be in the form of cash while other times services, free products or rebates might be the settlement gains.

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If you believe you have a class action case against a corporation or large company for financial damages, injuries or other causes, contact our office for a free consultation. The law limits the time available to file a claim, so act quickly. Our experienced attorneys will review your case and help you make an informed decision regarding filing a class action lawsuit.

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