If you are injured by a private party and the injury is a one-time occurrence, the next course of legal action is typically filing a civil suit against the responsible party. The claim journeys through the legal process as usual.
However, in situations where a large company creates a defective or harmful product, causing injuries or even death to multiple individuals. In some cases, particularly those involving pharmaceutical drugs or medical devices, hundreds or even thousands of people are affected.
If all these people are filing individual personal injury claims, this has the potential to clog up the court system. It would take decades to hear all those cases and rule on each of them. That is why the option to file a class action lawsuit exists. This type of lawsuit compiles all the complaints into one comprehensive lawsuit against the defendant.
If you have been injured by a government entity, manufacturer, retailer, financial institution or employer, your claim will likely be a class action lawsuit. Here is what you can expect.
Hire a Lawyer
The first step is to hire a lawyer who has filed a class action lawsuit before. There are a lot of procedures involved in filing such a suit. The process can be overwhelming, so it is helpful to have someone on your side who can guide you through the process.
Once the complaint is filed, the judge must certify the class. Certification often involves that the representative plaintiff proves the following:
- The representative plaintiff has suffered the same injuries as the others filing claims.
- It can be determined who is and who is not a member of the class.
- There are enough class members to make individual claims impractical (typically 40 or more).
- All injuries were caused by a common set of facts.
Notification of a Lawsuit
Once the judge has certified the lawsuit, the members are typically notified by mail. All members are included unless they opt out. Class action lawsuits are typically settled outside of court, but they often take a long time to settle. Some cases require litigation.
If the members win their class action suit, each party receives a portion of the settlement, which is typically a cash award. One of the drawbacks of a class action lawsuit is that the award could be quite small depending on the award amount and the number of members.
Taking Legal Action
Class action suits can be quite complex and is best handled by an attorney experienced in class action lawsuits. If you have suffered injuries due to the negligence of a large company, you may be able to file a class action lawsuit. To get started, contact the Sherman, Texas law firm of David K. Wilson at (903) 870-9050. We can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries.