What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is one in which a group of people with the same or similar injuries sues a defendant as a group. Each group member is then eligible to receive a portion of the total compensation (if any) from the outcome of the case. This has several advantages to group members. A class action allows for legal action that might otherwise be impractical for individuals to undertake themselves. Class action participants often suffer injuries that may not be severe or expensive enough to justify the cost of taking legal action individually. As a group, or class, however, class members can consolidate and share attorneys, evidence, witnesses, and other associated costs, making pursuing class action worthwhile.
What Types of Cases Can Become Class Actions?
There are many different kinds of class actions lawsuits. A class may consist of people injured by a bad drug, a defective consumer product, including defective automobiles and defective medical devices, consumer fraud, corporate misconduct, consumer fraud, securities fraud, employment practices including racial discrimination, or people injured by a massive accident such as a chemical spill or an airplane crash.
What are the Advantages of a Class Action?
A class action lawsuit brings together and disposes of thousands of claims at one time that are impractical to litigate individually. A judge will make a decision with regard to the entire group. If the class of plaintiffs wins, the court finds the defendant liable for the plaintiffs' injuries, and the amount of recovery is later divided among the plaintiffs.
Because it consolidates individual claims, the class action format lowers the frequently-high cost of litigation. Also, class actions are usually brought by attorneys who are particularly trained and experienced in litigating and managing complicated lawsuits. Class actions require much more work than the typical civil lawsuit, and class action attorneys know how to represent the plaintiffs in the class action.
Can I Join a Class Action?
Every person who would be affected by a court's decision in a class action is entitled to notice that the action has started. Although it typically isn't possible to give every individual personal notice, all persons who might be affected are entitled to the best notice possible. The court will order that the class representative, through his or her attorneys, make reasonable attempts to notify any unknown class members by media such as television, an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper, or a posted flyer. If you are notified of a class action you will have the opportunity to join in the action, or "opt in," or decide not participate as a member of the class: to "opt out."
If you have been injured by a product or person in Colorado and you think that there are others in your situation, you should seek legal counsel from a Colorado attorney experienced in representing class action lawsuits. An experienced Colorado class action attorney can help you navigate through the complex legal issues involved in setting up a class action, help connect you with other potential defendants, see the case through to the end and get you and others like you the compensation that you deserve.
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