How do class action lawsuits work?

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Class action lawsuits are everywhere. They range from product failures to serious side effects from drugs. For example, one current class action suit is against Makita Battery Packs and their failure rate due to a design defect.

At the same time, a recently successful class action lawsuit brought attention to the many patients who took Yaz or Yasmin birth control and have suffered serious side effects like blood clots that have resulted in stroke. With this wide range of class action lawsuits it can be difficult to know how to respond when you’re involved in such a suit. But our legal professionals provided some great tips for your benefit.

When to Participate

Participating in a class action lawsuit largely depends on the extent of your injury.

“So, if the defendant is a company who caused a very small amount of damage to each individual – but if you add the damage up the dollar value is great – that’s the type of class action where it wouldn’t pay for you to have your own lawyer so joining the class is probably your only option. Also, if the injury you’ve suffered is pretty much the same as others, and the facts needed to be proven are the same as for others, then the class action may be preferable.”

– –Michele Colucci, MyLawsuit

But if your injuries are severe and unique to your situation, it may be more beneficial for you to pursue the lawsuit personally.

How to Participate

When you receive notice that you are part of a class action lawsuit, most of us are unsure how to proceed.

“In the US, if a case is certified as a class the court, not the parties or counsel, sends notice to the affected class members. The notice explains your rights. You are automatically included in the class, and your rights will be adjudicated, unless you affirmatively “opt out”. If you opt out, usually by sending a postcard or email to a given address, your rights will not be affected, but you will receive none of the settlement or winnings if the case is successful. Class notices are almost never scams. But remember that legitimate notices never ask you for money or confidential information.”

– Robert W. Mills, Mills Law Firm

Although most class notices mean that you will automatically be included in the lawsuit, it is important to read the fine print. Class action suits can vary, and you may need to respond on deadline. Mills also reminds us that class action notices will never ask you for money or confidential information.

Benefits of Participating

Class action lawsuits can increase the efficiency of said lawsuit. For example, they can significantly decrease repetitive witnesses that would be similar in multiple trials of essentially the same case.

“Since the cost of a lawyer and other legal professionals can be very expensive, a lawsuit can also improve per-person recovery rates in a case. If a defendant engages in practices that result in widespread harm, a class action lawsuit ensures that plaintiffs will receive compensation for their claims.”

– Richard Quadrino, Disability Insurance Lawyers

Hiring a lawyer for your personal case is often too expensive for the average person, so a class action lawsuit can bring justice to more people. Additionally, class action lawsuits can encourage a healthier society through litigating against products and services that cause harm.