A class action lawsuit, also known as a class suit, or representative action, was developed in England back in the 13th century. Though class action cases faded out of existence in England, the tradition was kept alive in the United States.
When large corporations cause great harm to numerous people, such as consumer fraud, failure to pay a group of employees without good reason, plaintiffs can file for a claim. However, should a company cause a number of people to become sick, are injured, or even die, through a product or action,a civil action lawsuit is the next step. These claims are usually in unison (also known as a class of people). It makes court time easier instead of filing hundreds of individual lawsuits against the defendant. However, it may also involve the supreme court.
These types of lawsuits compensate the injured and protect others from being hurt by the same actions of the defendant in the future and ensure class action settlement.
Starting a class action lawsuit is a long and grueling process and may involve one law firm or several. But we’re going to go over the steps you need to take if you believe a class action is due.
Step # 1 Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
You can file a civil action lawsuit without a lawyer but they are requirements you must meet in order to do this. We advise against filing without an experienced lawyer to help you through the entire process.
You can find a great civil action lawyer through a database that each Bar association has.
You should call an attorney to assess your case. Most consultations are free. Once you give your attorney all the information required regarding the civil action, they will decide if you have a case that can make it.
Since you started the civil action lawsuit, you’ll be referred to as either the class representative, the lead plaintiff, or the named plaintifffor court purposes.
This is a big position to take on because you’re the one in the front fighting for the rest of the harmed.
Your duties include working with your attorney, notifying the others in the lawsuit of what’s happening, and you get to accept or reject any settlements offered.
Most lawyers with experience in personal injury and civil action lawsuits, do not require payment until the lawsuit is won. So, instead of hourly fees, your lawyer will be entitled to a percent of the money won in court.
If the lawsuit doesn’t win, you won’t have to pay a dime.
Step # 2 Finding Other Victims
To file a civil action lawsuit, you need more than one person with an injury caused by the company or business in question.
There are different ways that your lawyer will utilize to help find others who’ve been wronged or harmed in any way.
The Internet is a great resource. Many people go to the Internet to discuss these exact things. Your lawyer might even run television ads to reach a larger portion of people.
If this is something that affects your neighborhood or town, go door to door. Put up flyers in stores. Get yourself out there.
All these victims deserve compensation as well. However, when you do contact them, they do have the choice to opt out of the civil action.
If they do choose to opt out of your lawsuit, they have the chance to file their own lawsuit against the offending company. Some potential plaintiffs might choose to opt out because their injuries are more severe and they can receive a bigger settlement if they file alone.
Step # 3 File a Complaint
Once you have the right lawyer and other victims that are ready to fight, it’s time to file a complaint against the company or entity. This particular document is known as a “class action complaint.”
Your lawyer will write up a formal draft with all the information regarding your lawsuit. This draft needs to be strong and lay an allegation out against the company.
This will include the facts regarding the lawsuit and how you and others have suffered because of this company’s negligence.
This suffering can be physical or emotional. This can also include any financial losses you’ve had to deal with as well.
Step # 4 The Company Will be Notified
Now that you’ve filed your complaint and a judge has approved it, the company you’re suing will be notified.
The company has about 30 days to reply to this lawsuit. In most cases, they will reply with a motion to dismiss. In other words, they’re trying to stop the case.
With a motion to dismiss, your attorney will write up a response to this motion. This will lead to a hearing.
Step # 5 Classification
Now, the laws regarding classification vary from state to state. Some states have a judge review your complaint and set the classification that way. Other states require you to file a motion to have your lawsuit classified.
If the company has brought a motion to dismiss forward, you and your attorney will head to a hearing with a judge. This is when the judge will decide if your lawsuit is going to be classified.
Once your civil action lawsuit is classified by a judge, you can move forward with the lawsuit. However, you’ll have to prove to the judge that the attorney you hired is the right person for your counsel.
You’ll have to notify potential class members. They still have a chance to opt out of the lawsuit. Once classified, this will help you find more plaintiffs for your lawsuit.
From here, you’ll have several procedural hearings, which is known as the pre-trial. The company might offer you a settlement.
If you deny the settlement, you’ll go to court.
If a judge denies classifying your lawsuit, your case is dropped.
Filing a civil action lawsuit can be tough. It may take years to settle the case. With the right lawyer, however, you can take on any negligent company.
You deserve your compensation so don’t be scared off by the time it takes to win one of these lawsuits. There’s always hope for the company to fix their wrongdoings.