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What Is A Class Action Lawsuit?



A class action lawsuit is a lawsuit that represents a group of individuals who have been negatively impacted by a company or corporation. Hundreds and sometimes even thousands of people can join a class action lawsuit if they’ve been financially or physically impacted by the actions of a large company and where it would not make sense for each person to file individually.


What is the difference between class action vs. multidistrict litigation?


A class action lawsuit is a single lawsuit designed to represent multiple individuals who have been injured or impacted by a specific Corporation or company. Multidistrict litigation is different because it takes all of the individual lawsuits That have been filed in federal district court against a specific company or corporation, consolidates them, and transfers them to a single federal court. An example would be the multidistrict litigation in the ongoing Zantac Lawsuits.


Who can start a class action lawsuit?


Just about anyone can start a class action lawsuit. The persona who initiates the lawsuit is known as the lead plaintiff or class representative. Anyone who has similar grievances with a certain company can join in on the lawsuit. The size of the group and the extent of their injuries will help a judge determine whether a class action lawsuit can move forward.

The class representative represents all of the other members of the lawsuit who have been similarly affected. This person may pay upfront fees and costs associated with getting the lawsuit started, but will be reimbursed for these fees when the final payout is decided.


Medical Class Action Lawsuits


While class action lawsuits can be filed for companies and corporations in almost every industry, they are very common in the medical field. Unfortunately, many class action lawsuits are filed in the medical field because certain medications that are designed to help people end up hurting them even more.

If you've been negatively impacted by a doctor or a physician's malpractice, the side effects of a specific FDA-approved medication, or adverse effects of medical treatment, you could be eligible for a class action lawsuit.

Filing a class-action lawsuit may not be able to reverse the life-changing effects of the medication or medical treatment, but it can help put you and your family in a financially stable place to help get through challenging times. Winning a class action lawsuit against a medical company or medicine manufacturer could help cover the cost of medical expenses and missed wages due to missing work.

Beyond that, medical companies who produce a product that negatively impacts your life (even unintentionally) should also pay punitive damages for the pain and suffering you suffered as a result of using their product.

Requirements to start a class action lawsuit


To start this kind of legal action, you should speak with an attorney who has experience working on these cases. They will help you walk through a certain set of class action lawsuit requirements to determine the probability of your case moving to trial. Some of the things judges will be looking for when determining whether or not to take the case include

  • The number of people impacted. The more people who have been affected in similar ways, the better the chance of a lawsuit. If only a few people have been impacted, the judge may suggest that each person file individual lawsuits instead

  • The consistency of the complaints. The judge will look at the injuries/complaints of the plaintiffs to see that everyone is suing for the same reasons.

  • The average severity of the claims. If everyone was impacted at roughly the same levels, a class action lawsuit may be the best way to go. However, if a few individuals have been impacted significantly more than others, those plaintiffs may be encouraged to file individually.



Costs of class action lawsuits


The goal for most class action plaintiffs is to be financially compensated for injuries received due to the negligence or malpractice of a company. To be represented, you must hire an attorney who is experienced with this kind of proceeding. For class action lawsuits, a lawyer is not paid unless the case is successful. They take a percentage of the final settlement.


Documentation


The initial document to get a class action lawsuit started is called a class action complaint. This document is drafted by an attorney after they’ve discussed your claims and reviewed the facts of the case. This document will list all of the important aspects of the case, including how much you’re hoping to recover and the details of the events that lead up to the lawsuit.


Common Class Action Lawsuit Terms


One of the ways a class action law firm helps navigate a class action lawsuit is by helping you understand all of the legalities and jargon associated with this very specific kind of legal action. Some of the terms you will probably hear during the class action process include:

Fairness hearing

A fairness hearing is a way for a judge to determine if the terms of the settlement are fair and reasonable in regards to the injuries they suffered. This two-step hearing helps confirm that the final settlement benefits the class members while allowing them to dispute or object to individual terms of the settlement.

Class action grievance

The grievance is another term for the claim or complaint that a plaintiff has toward a company or corporation

Putative class action

Putative is the term used to describe a lawsuit that has been filed but has not yet been granted class certification by a judge. This is the “in the middle” stage before a lawsuit officially reaches class action status.

Punitive damages

In a class action lawsuit where negligent or reckless behavior contributed to the injuries of the plaintiffs, the defendant may be required to pay punitive damages. These are fees above and beyond the requested settlement of the plaintiffs and are designed to punish the defendant for their behavior and discourage other companies from behaving in the same way.

Common fund

The common fund is the pool of money designed for distribution to class members as a result of a class action lawsuit. To claim your part of the lawsuit winnings, you must file a claim in writing to receive your percentage of the winnings from the common fund.

Final Thoughts


Nobody ever wants to file a class action lawsuit. It can be an emotional detailed process, but it is an important legal step that can help Those injured or negatively impacted by the actions of a company or corporation.

If you've taken Zantac and as a result have been diagnosed with cancer or other significant health complications, you may be entitled to compensation. Our justice team is standing by ready to walk you through every step of the process and potentially receive compensation as a result of the ongoing Zantac Lawsuit litigation.



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