What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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A class action lawsuit is when multiple people who have been injured in a similar way by one person or entity file a joint lawsuit. By combining their powers and resources, they file a big lawsuit that attracts more attention and therefore is more likely to get a positive result than a number of single lawsuits. The courts prefer that people file class action lawsuits when many people have been harmed in a similar way as it takes up a lot less of the court’s time and resources. If you are considering a class action lawsuit, then you should work with a class action lawyer. Finding a class action lawyer who has experience in filing class action lawsuits will increase your chances of success.

Benefits of Class Action Lawsuits

  • Legal costs are divided amongst all of the plaintiffs
  • Lawyers fees are handled on a contingency basis (you only pay if you win the class action lawsuit)
  • All the plaintiffs (except the lead plaintiff) will take a passive role and be updated regularly
  • Even plaintiffs with small amounts of damages get an equal say in the class action lawsuit

Class action lawsuits serve to amplify your message and show just how much damage the company or person’s negligence or intentional actions have caused. The State of California published a study of California Class Action Litigation.

It is important to note that the California Department of Health Care Services’ (DHCS) Class Action Recovery Program seeks reimbursement for services that Medi-Cal paid for on behalf of its members who are involved in third party actions, such as product liability, vaccine/ medication-related injuries, and exposure to asbestos/ other environmental toxins.

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How Do Class Action Lawsuits Work?

One of the first steps in a class action lawsuit is identifying a lead plaintiff. This sometimes happens when one person brings a case to a lawyer, and they realize it can be a much bigger case. It might also happen if a group of people start a class action lawsuit and talk to a lawyer as a group. Generally, all the plaintiffs will elect a lead plaintiff that they trust to work with the attorney and keep everyone updated. The lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit must be organized and be easily contacted.

Your class action lawyer will file a lawsuit with the appropriate court and ask for formal certification to recognize the initial group of plaintiffs as a class. This is the first step in a class action lawsuit and is necessary to allow other plaintiffs to join the case.

The next step is to identify anyone else who may be affected to join the class action lawsuit. If it is an employment law dispute, then the lawyer and the lead plaintiff will work together to talk to all present and prior employees and see if they have been harmed. For defective products or breach of contract class action lawsuits, an ad may be printed in the paper or distributed online to reach other potential plaintiffs.

It is best to join a class action lawsuit as soon as possible as often the initial group of plaintiffs will get priority when receiving compensation. If the company has poor finances and there is a risk that it will go bankrupt, the later you join the class action lawsuit, the lower the priority to give you compensation. On top of the class action lawsuit, you can also file a claim for specific damages from the company. This covers any additional costs you may have suffered that were not mentioned in the class action lawsuit. For example, a class action lawsuit may be for a defective product that caused illness and caused people to miss work. The illness may have exacerbated a health condition you have, and you were admitted to the hospital because of the defective product. The class action lawsuit will cover damages for the defective product and missed work, but you can also file a claim to recover medical bills.

If you are considering a class action lawsuit, speak to Nakase Law Firm. We are experienced in personal injury, employment, and breach of contract class action lawsuits. Contact us for a free consultation where you can discuss your case and learn more about the process. There is no need to feel overwhelmed; we will walk you through every step of the process and advocate for you and the other plaintiffs.

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