Everything You Need To Know About Class Action Lawsuits

Before joining a class action lawsuit, you need to consider all your legal options. Class action lawsuits can be an effective way to hold parties responsible for negligent conduct. 

However, there are downsides of class action lawsuits that might make joining one less beneficial than other legal options. Read on to learn the information you need to know.

What Is a Class Action Lawsuit in Florida?

A class action lawsuit allows one or more plaintiffs to file a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group. In a personal injury class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs are the injured parties. The “class” refers to the people who suffered the same harm.

Each person in the class has a legal claim against the defendant (at-fault party). However, they join the class action lawsuit instead of filing separate lawsuits.

In some situations, a class action lawsuit might be the only way to recover compensation for a specific issue. The court might rule that all parties similarly situated must join the class because filing separate lawsuits would be too challenging to manage and clog up the court system. In other situations, people may be able to opt out of the class action case to file individual lawsuits.

If you receive notice of a class action lawsuit, the notice should contain the names and contact information of the attorneys handling the class action case. However, you may want to speak with a local personal injury lawyer. An attorney can review the class action notice and advise you of your legal options.

How Does a Class Action Lawsuit Work in Florida?

A class action lawsuit begins with one or more injured victims filing a lawsuit. For example, suppose a manufacturer knowingly produced and sold a defective product that injured people. One or more injured parties might start a class action lawsuit for a product liability claim.

Attorneys notify potential victims of the class action lawsuit. The potential victims can join the class action lawsuit or opt-out if that option is available.

It does not cost anything to join a class action lawsuit. Costs and attorneys’ fees are paid from the proceeds of the class action settlement or verdict.

You might not have known you had a claim until you received the class action lawsuit notice. Before joining, consider your potential damages. If your damages are more than the damages sustained by the plaintiffs, you might want to opt out of the class action case and file an individual lawsuit.

When you join a class action case, you are bound by the settlement terms or the jury verdict. In most cases, you cannot pursue an individual case after joining the class action case.

How Much Money Will I Receive as a Member of a Class Action Lawsuit in Florida?

Money is divided in a class action lawsuit according to the terms of a negotiated settlement or the terms outlined in a court verdict. The proceeds are paid to the lead plaintiffs, the class participants, and their attorneys.

Lead plaintiffs are the individuals who file the lawsuit. They have losses that are representative of the entire class. They have a duty to only accept settlements that are in the best interest of the class members. Even if the lead plaintiffs accept a settlement on behalf of the entire class, a judge must review and approve the settlement to ensure it is fair and adequate.

The amount you receive for a class action lawsuit depends on many factors. Generally, all class members receive the same amount. However, some class action lawsuits may have different classes within the lawsuit. Therefore, there could be different payments to class members based on their class within the lawsuit.

Are Class Action Lawsuits the Same as Mass Torts?

While there are similarities, mass torts are not the same as class action lawsuits. Mass torts involve a large number of people who have similar claims against the same parties. However, individual lawsuits are filed against the at-fault party.

The lawsuits are then joined for the pre-trial phase of the case. Joining the lawsuits saves time and money because discovery and other issues are handled as a group instead of repeating the process for each individual lawsuit.

However, the lawsuits in a mass tort are tried or settled individually. The lawsuits that go to trial are heard by different juries. The outcome of each lawsuit may be different.

Mass torts usually involve claims that have significant damages. Class action lawsuits generally involve small claims. Combining small claims allows injured parties to pursue damages that might not be worth pursuing in individual lawsuits.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Northwest Florida

If you need legal assistance, contact the Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyers at Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
(850) 863-5297

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
(850) 790-0243