In recent years, there has been a groundswell of misinformation largely designed to dissuade individual consumers from joining together to bring class action lawsuits against large corporations based on various issues including consumer fraud, illegal bank lending practices, personal injuries resulting from defective products, and similar theories.
The truth is that it is only through class action lawsuits that many larger corporations, product manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, etc., are motivated to modify their practices in a way that protects ordinary consumers from unfair dealing and injuries resulting from improperly designed products.
The list below is intended to summarize how you can better evaluate whether an issue you may be having with a product or service may qualify as part of a class action lawsuit:
(1) Have you actually suffered some actual loss that has directly resulted from this product or service?
In order to start a class action lawsuit, an individual must have actually suffered some recognizable loss (such as financial loss, property damage, physical injury, etc.). It is not enough that you think you have been “wronged” or unfairly taken advantage of. You must be able to demonstrate an actual loss to the court.
(2) Is the loss you have suffered of a type that is likely to have affected a large number of consumers in the exact same way in which you have been harmed?
Class action lawsuits will not be allowed in situations that will require a court to examine the precise facts surrounding the claims of every individual class member. Each class member must have suffered a very similar loss or injury, and that injury must have been caused by the same acts of the company against whom the lawsuit is being brought.
(3) If I can satisfy #1 and #2 above, how do I start a class action lawsuit?
If you have suffered an actual injury that is likely to have affected a large number of people in a similar fashion, you may qualify as a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit. You can reach out to an experienced class action law firm who will almost always offer a free case evaluation to let you know whether your claim is appropriate for a class action lawsuit. This determination will be based on knowledge of extensive federal laws that govern class actions, as well as consideration of the particular factual circumstances underlying your situation.
If it is determined that your claim may be appropriate for class action treatment, your attorney (after you have engaged him or her through a written legal fee agreement) will file a complaint, usually in federal court, on your behalf as well as on behalf of all other individuals “similarly situated” who have likely suffered very similar injuries.
(4) What will it cost me to bring a class action lawsuit?
In almost all cases you will not pay anything to bring a class action lawsuit. If your class is ultimately certified and your lawsuit ends either will a settlement or judgment that awards money damages to the class, you will then receive your share of awarded damages. The ultimate amount recovered will be reduced by awarded attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the lawsuit.
(5) How can I learn more to determine whether I can bring a class action lawsuit?
If you think you may have a claim that satisfies the requirements set forth above, you are encouraged to contact a class action lawyer at Audet & Partners, LLP by calling (800) 965-1461, or by completing and submitting our confidential inquiry form on the right side of this page.