Should I join a class action lawsuit for a product defect case?

Learn more about what a class action is and whether you should join one. Find out the pros and cons about this litigation option.

Class action lawsuits happen when there is a very large claim against a company that involves multiple injured parties. It is a common approach with product defect cases. Each person who has been injured has the choice to join the lawsuit. It is not mandatory. Therefore, it is important for each individual in West Virginia to weigh the pros and cons of becoming a part of the class action before making a final decision.

The basics of a class action lawsuit

According to Kiplinger, a class action lawsuit will have one named plaintiff who represents all the others in the case. Most of these lawsuits end in a settlement and do not end up going to court. The settlement amounts in such cases are often in the multi-million-dollar range. When a person joins a class action, he or she gives up his or her right to file a separate lawsuit in the same matter.

Advantages

Having strength in numbers is the biggest benefit of this type of case because it makes the case stronger and draws attention to what happened. It is much harder to push a class action lawsuit under the rug than it is for a smaller lawsuit. In addition, because all plaintiffs are involved in one case, it helps save the court from having to hear multiple cases on the same matter. This frees up the legal system and keeps the courts from getting backed up with cases.

Disadvantages

Because there are so many plaintiffs, the actual amount awarded in a settlement to each individual is typically very small. Bank Rate also notes that the biggest payout usually goes to the attorney and the named plaintiff because they are the ones who were actively involved in the case. The rest of the settlement amount is then divided among the other plaintiffs. Also, since these cases are so large, they can take years to settle. The attorney representing the plaintiffs may negotiate with the company's attorneys back and forth many times before an agreement is finally reached.

If a person does not have a real desire to seek a huge payout in a situation where he or she was injured by a product and really just wants justice, then a class action may be a good choice. However, the final decision is always up to each individual. Filing a class action or even getting help understanding a class action is best done by the experienced attorneys at Warner Law Offices.