You’ve probably received a class action notice in your lifetime. These notify members of a legal “class” that they may receive part of a lawsuit settlement. Fewer people are familiar with the process of filing a class action lawsuit. The best way to tell if your case is a class action lawsuit is to talk to an attorney, but there are several defining characteristics that may apply to your case.
What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits are appropriate when there are too many plaintiffs for a standard personal injury suit. They’re very common when a company (a pharmaceutical company, for example) harms a large group of people. Maybe their medication may have had unforeseen side effects, or a product has been recalled due to its harmful nature. Since these situations could affect thousands, if not millions of people, it’s not practical for each person to file a lawsuit.
Instead, a “representative” of the class files a claim, then their attorney handles the litigation proceedings. The potential members of the class are notified, so they can either opt out (which allows them to file their own suit) or find out how to get their share of the settlement. Sometimes it’s not possible to locate every member of the class, so they’ll negotiate a general fund for anyone who comes forward. Alternatively, the aim of the suit might be to compel specific action, like offering a free product or service to class members.
How to Tell if Your Case May Be a Class Action
The defining characteristic is that the harm was suffered by a large number of people. There’s no hard and fast rule as to how many, but 40 and up is almost always approved by the court. The class also has to be defined so as to tell who is a member. For example, people who were prescribed and used a certain medication in 2020 would be one way to define a class.
The facts and legal remedy for the class should also be similar enough that if the representative’s case is litigated, it would decide the entire class’s cases.
Judges have significant discretion in whether to certify a class. Even if your claim matches these characteristics, there’s no guarantee it will be accepted. Talking to an attorney can help you decide how to approach filing a claim.
Call an Ohio Class Action Attorney Today
If you’d like to learn more about whether your case could be a class action lawsuit, call me at 877.944.4373 We’ll review your legal options and decide how I’ll Make Them Pay!®.