Most civil lawsuits are one person against another person or one person against a company. This is because when one person has a claim, they file a suit against the person or company responsible. However, there are situations where multiple people can sue a company for the same thing. If this happens with a large number of people, the court may decide that those individual cases should be combined into a single larger case called a class action lawsuit.
There are many class action lawsuits happening every year for a variety of reasons. If you suffered injuries because of a product, service, or action from a company, you may be able to file a lawsuit that will become a class action lawsuit against the company. Before you take action, discuss your case with a Baltimore class action lawsuits lawyer to see what the legal process may look like to find out if you have a viable case. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 709-1441 for a consultation about your case.
Understanding Class Action Lawsuits
According to Semantic Scholar, class action lawsuits have existed since the 17th century and carried over to U.S. law from British law. In many ways, class action lawsuits function the same way as other lawsuits. A victim files claims against another group for damages caused by their actions. However, the key difference is that a class action lawsuit has a single party representing a larger group against another party. This is how a single lawyer represents a large group of people when suing a multinational corporation.
The idea behind class action lawsuits is that it is possible for a company or other large entity to hurt many different people with its actions. Instead of facing a very large number of individual lawsuits, a single representative can represent all of the people that were hurt in a single lawsuit. This reduces the burden on the legal system of having to manage those different lawsuits and makes it easier for companies to defend themselves. It also has the added benefit of pooling resources from those individual lawsuits so that a single lawyer or law firm can handle more expensive and resource-consuming cases.
There are many examples of class action lawsuits happening throughout U.S. history. Many of those lawsuits are groups suing companies that have caused some type of problem such as creating environmental hazards or selling defective products. Class action lawsuits have become more common and more complicated as large, multinational corporations are more prevalent.
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Taking Legal Action
A class action lawsuit begins the same way any other lawsuit begins. A lawyer files a lawsuit on behalf of a person or a small group of people. When the case is filed, the lawyer can declare it as a class action lawsuit. The case is then reviewed by a judge to determine if it should proceed as a class action lawsuit.
The case has to be reviewed to determine if it meets the qualifications of class action lawsuits. There is a defined standard for federal lawsuits to meet these criteria and states can have their own set of criteria. If the case does not pass the review process, it can still continue as an individual lawsuit. If it does pass the review, the case is put on hold while the class (the group of people being represented in the case) is established. Other people can join the class for a set amount of time before the case is allowed to continue.
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If you are going to file a civil lawsuit, then you are going to have to determine liability before you can file. You can only file a lawsuit against a party that is liable for damages. In your case, the lawsuit will likely be against a company because of damages caused by their products or actions. Companies are not always liable and there are specific criteria for when this happens.
For companies to be held liable, there must be some type of negligence involved. For example, a company that builds and sells a product that causes injuries does not automatically make the company liable for those damages. If the company knew or should have known that a product would be defective or hurt people, that counts as negligence. Liability can be tricky to determine, which is why you should work with a lawyer to see if your case is viable before you begin the legal process.
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When a class action lawsuit is concluded, the victims may be awarded compensation. That compensation is usually divided among the different victims based on specific criteria, although many cases split it evenly after the lawyer pays for expenses and recovers costs. The claims that can be filed in that case resemble the claims from other civil cases. These include:
- Medical expenses: If victims are injured by the company, they can claim medical expenses related to their recovery.
- Property damage: Repairing or replacing property can be expensive, but you can claim compensation for it in the lawsuit as well.
- Pain and suffering compensation: Victims that have suffered severe mental and emotional distress because of the actions leading up to the case may be able to collect pain and suffering compensation.
- Wrongful death: The families of victims that died may be able to claim compensation to help with expenses.
There may be other types of compensation that you can claim in a class action lawsuit that are not covered on this list. Working with a lawyer to understand the limits of your case is the best way to determine what compensation you can expect.
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Connect with a Baltimore Class Action Lawsuits Lawyer in Your Pursuit of Justice
Being involved in a class action lawsuit can be intimidating, but you can manage with the right legal support. Do not miss your chance to take legal action to address the damages caused by your legal situation. Speak with a Baltimore class action lawsuits lawyer to see what your legal options are. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 709-1441 for a free consultation.
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