Class action lawsuits have led to multi-billion-dollar settlements. A group lawsuit can lead to massive benefits and better representation for those who participate. They can also provide justice for those who wouldn’t think to bring a suit.
If such a suit marks your first meaningful engagement with the world of law, you may not know what they entail. What is a class action lawsuit, and how do you get part of the payout? What determines how big the payout is?
In this article, we’ll do our best to demystify the concept of a class action lawsuit. We’ll outline what makes a lawsuit a class action suit and how it differs from an individual civil case.
What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit comes not on behalf of an individual claimant but a category of people affected. A class action lawyer might bring a suit on behalf of everyone who bought a computer hard drive from a manufacturer during a four-year period or everyone who lived or worked within two miles of a manufacturing facility.
This lawsuit format ensures everyone who bought a defective product or was exposed to something harmful can pursue justice. It also eases the lawsuit burden on the target of the suit. A company can deal with a single class action suit rather than several thousand individual cases.
What Makes a Class?
The class designated in a class action suit must consist of a large enough group of people that satisfying their individual claims would be difficult or unfair. If only five people have standing, that might not constitute a class action suit. In Texas, the rules for bringing a class action suit fall under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 42.
If a court agrees that a class makes sense, it will issue a court order certifying the class action. This court order outlines the class itself as well as counsel, issues, and defenses.
A lead plaintiff still participates in proceedings. The lead plaintiff must be someone with standing to file a lawsuit who then deals with the court proceedings.
What Might Stop a Class Action Lawsuit?
Sometimes even getting a class action attorney won’t help. Some employee or product contracts include a clause that waives your right to participate in a class action suit regarding the company or product.
Even if you notice that language, however, it’s worth taking your situation to a class action lawyer. Sometimes the contract will be unenforceable, and you’ll be able to move forward regardless.
Show Some Class
Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is a class action lawsuit?” you’ll be able to better consider whether you have the standing to bring one. Always consult with a lawyer regarding any potential civil case, however, as they may be able to highlight issues you haven’t considered.
If you’re looking for an attorney in the Houston area to bring a claim against a company, try giving us a call. If you’ve been injured by a faulty product or a dangerous drug, you deserve a zealous advocate.