A class-action lawsuit is a legal process where the courts combine many lawsuits against the same entity for the same reason into one lawsuit. For example, the courts could roll a thousand separate lawsuits against the same company for the same defective product into a single case. Courts do this as a means of maintaining efficiency. Hearing thousands of separate cases on the same topic would take a long time and create a major backlog of cases in the system. For plaintiffs, a class-action lawsuit is a way to hold a large company or entity responsible when a single plaintiff does not have the resources to manage a lawsuit.
A judge may decide that it would be better to combine your lawsuit in conjunction with other similar lawsuits, if your lawsuit is based on a similar focus as many other lawsuits. However, you can also join a pre-existing lawsuit if you meet the criteria. Injured parties use class action lawsuits against major companies every day to hold them responsible and to collect compensation for their injuries.
If you suffer injuries or expenses as a result of a large entity’s actions, you may be able to start or join a class-action lawsuit to seek compensation. Before taking any action, consult an Oakland class action lawsuits lawyer for legal guidance. Contact the office of Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 683-5111 to discuss your case with our team.
Defining Class Action Lawsuits
A class-action lawsuit is a single lawsuit with more than one plaintiff, that is, more than one victim who is suing for the same reason. For the courts to create a class action lawsuit, a judge must decide to combine many similar lawsuits, or a lawyer must collect plaintiffs and file a single lawsuit.
The courts reserve class action lawsuits for cases where a single entity like a large company takes action that leads to injuries. For example, customers of a company that sells a defective product that hurts many people can sue that company for compensation. Rather than hearing many separate cases, the courts can combine them into one single case to streamline the process.
One of the reasons why lawyers and victims choose to use class-action lawsuits is because it combines the resources of all of the plaintiff’s lawyers to make it possible to fight large entities. Filing a lawsuit against a major company means that your lawyer will spend a lot of time and resources managing your case. A single lawyer likely does not have the resources needed to complete the case, but can partner with multiple plaintiffs where multiple lawyers together have the resources to mount a successful lawsuit.
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Costs of Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits have the potential for success, but they are also expensive. Large companies can leverage their sizable bank accounts and income to stall legal processes. If a single plaintiff and lawyer were managing the case, the available resources would likely run out early in the process. Having multiple plaintiffs and lawyers on the case means that there are more resources to support fighting a large entity, no matter how long it tries to stall the case.
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Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a state law that sets a legal time limit for how long you have to file a case. In terms of class-action lawsuits, you have until the statute of limitations runs out to file the class action lawsuit. The amount of time you have varies based on the case and existing laws in the state where the class action lawsuit will be filed.
According to the National Law Review, class action lawsuits can pause the statute of limitations for filing individual lawsuits. The courts must certify every class action lawsuit before it can proceed. If the lawsuit fails to achieve its certification, you can file an individual lawsuit. The statute of limitations pauses when the attorney files the class action lawsuit and resumes when the court denies certification. This does not apply for subsequent class action lawsuits, so that the company cannot have an infinite number of class action lawsuits filed against it.
Long-Term Impacts of Class Action Lawsuits
According to the Federal Judicial Center, class action lawsuits are a vital way of holding large companies accountable. Class action lawsuits allow legal teams and plaintiffs to develop the resources needed to file a lawsuit. Instead of having to fight a major company on your own, you can partner with other people that suffered in the same way that you have. Together, you may be able to hold that company accountable.
Class action lawsuits generally take a long time to resolve, even after filing and certification. This could create a tremendous strain on your finances if you were supporting a lawyer’s efforts to maintain the lawsuit on your own.
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Understanding Your Rights
As a victim of another party’s negligent actions, you have the right to file a lawsuit to claim compensation. You can do this either through an individual lawsuit or a class action lawsuit. Consult a lawyer to see which option is in your best interest. In some cases, you may be able to join a class action lawsuit already underway if there is one that already exists.
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There are many examples of class-action lawsuits leading to not only payouts for injured individuals, but also substantial changes in the industry as a whole. The potential effect that a legal challenge can have on businesses leads many people to believe that class action lawsuits are an essential part of maintaining order in various industries. For you, this means that you can hold major companies accountable for the injuries that you suffered and the expenses that you incurred as a result.
An Oakland class action lawsuits lawyer can help you file a class-action lawsuit. The process can be complex, and having a lawyer represent you could be in your best interest. Contact the office of Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 683-5111 for a free consultation about your case.