Many people have heard about class action lawsuits before, especially because they tend to get a lot of press.
But what exactly are these lawsuits? How do they work, and what purpose do they ultimately serve?
How class action lawsuits are filed
ClassAction.org examines the pieces that make up class action lawsuits. Class action lawsuits can either be filed as an individual or a group. Regardless of which option files, they represent a much larger number of people who have either suffered from similar financial harm or similar injuries.
The most common classifications of a class action lawsuit are regarding misleading advertising, consumer fraud or defective products. For example, it is not uncommon for class action lawsuits to take place against cars or car part manufacturers for faulty airbags, brakes and so on.
What participants should know
For participants in class action lawsuits, it is good to know that a person cannot “get in trouble” for participating. They also do not have to go out of their way to join a class action lawsuit.
Class members may receive notice if the case settles, which discusses how to claim a portion of the settlement. It is free to participate, too, and anyone can opt out if they do not wish to take part.
Class action vs. mass torts
Note that class action and mass tort lawsuits are not the same thing, even though they share similar components. Most issues involving dangerous drugs or medical devices are torts, for example, meaning everyone must file individually.
It pays to keep an eye out for class action lawsuits as well, as not every class member gets notification of the fact that cases are ongoing. Staying on top of this information can lead to compensation possibilities that a person did not even know existed.