Personal Injury Class Action Overview

Posted on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 8:36 am    

Personal Injury Class Action Overview

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute a class action is “a procedural device that permits one or more plaintiffs to file and prosecute a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group or “class”.” Put simply a class action is a type of lawsuit that is filed on behalf of a class or group of people who have similar claims against the same defendant.

A class action is filed by one or a few class representatives or lead plaintiffs. Once the case has been filed in court, the court will decides whether it is appropriate for the matter to proceed as a class action. There are four main factors that are taken into consideration to determine if the case is appropriate, these are:

  • Numerosity – are there enough individual claims to make up a class action, as the most efficient and reasonable way to proceed?
  • Commonality – are the claims sufficiently alike in terms of harm and wrongdoing?
  • Typicality – are the proposed class representative claims typical of all class member claims?
  • Adequacy – are the representatives up to the task of representing the class fairly and effectively?

It is important to note that a typical class action arises when hundreds or thousands of people have been affected by the same problem or issue.

Opt out

It is important to realize that any class action settlement or judgement binds each and every member of the class. Unless, a member has made the choice to ‘opt out’ and has followed the procedures of doing so.

There is nothing you need to do to join a class action, in most cases, this happens automatically. Attorneys determine who might have been affected by the defendant’s wrongful action. Thereafter, these individuals are given notice about the class action. At this point an individual can choose to ‘opt out’ of the class action and file their own lawsuit.

For legal advice on class actions contact the Vinson Law Office.

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