Class actions are mass tort cases where one big claim is brought against a defendant involving many plaintiffs who have suffered a similar loss. Class actions are typically brought against big companies because of defective products, or because of fraud in financial transactions that costs shareholders money. Class actions may also be brought against an employer who engages in large-scale discrimination. The vast majority of class action claims settle outside of court, and those participating in the class receive compensation as agreed to in settlement negotiations and signed off on by the judge.
In some cases, however, no settlement will be reached and the case will proceed to trial. When this happens, there is a risk that the court will find for the defendant. If the class action is lost, this has consequences for every member of the class. It is important to understand the impact of losing a class action and to think carefully about whether you want to become a part of a class of plaintiffs if you have suffered harm. An experienced San Diego class action lawyer at Sepahi Law Group, APC can provide you with assistance if you are involved in a class of plaintiffs or if you believe you have suffered a wrong that could lead to mass tort litigation. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.
When a Class Action is Lost
When a class action is lost, the plaintiffs who are members of the class will not receive any compensation for the damages that they experienced. Those who were a part of the class necessarily gave up their right to file an individual claim when they agreed to join the class (or when they did not opt out of it). As a result, the members of a class action cannot file their own individual or personal lawsuits if the court finds for the defendant in a class action case. Those who joined the class lose the opportunity to be compensated for whatever their losses were.
When you become a part of a class, you have little or no control over how the case proceeds. You don’t get to personally decide on whether to accept a settlement offer, nor do you get to testify in court or have any say in making strategic decisions as the case proceeds. You also do not get to provide any of your own specific evidence to the court. The success or failure of your case will depend upon the decisions made by the representative name plaintiffs and the attorneys representing them. As a result, if a class action is lost because poor decisions were made during litigation, you will not have the opportunity to recover money even though you had nothing to do with how the case played out.
The possibility that you will recover nothing if a class action is lost is one of the big downsides of joining a class. However, the good news is that in the American system, the losing side of a class action does not become responsible for compensating the other side for legal fees (unlike within some legal systems). Typically, attorneys also take class action cases on a contingent fee basis so no legal fees will be assessed. This means that you don’t lose anything if you don’t win.
You need to make an informed choice about whether joining a class is right for you, and Sepahi Law Group, APC can help. Call today to learn more.