It is common for one party to file a lawsuit against another for damages. Although some civil cases may involve multiple defendants, most civil cases are brought by a single plaintiff who has suffered physical, financial, or other damages.
There is, however, a difference between class action lawsuits and other types of lawsuits. There may be hundreds or even thousands of individuals who have been negatively affected in the same way by a single party's negligence.
Bringing a class action enables many people facing the same circumstances to receive justice fairly and efficiently. However, it is often difficult to tell if you are the only one or one of many affected by the same error or misconduct.
It is possible to receive justice in a practical and fair manner for many people experiencing similar circumstances by bringing a class action. The difficulty is determining whether you are the only one affected by the error or misconduct or if it affects many people at once.
Below is a list of key factors to consider when choosing a class action lawyer.
In some cases, lawyers and law firms advertise that they accept class actions but then refer the cases to another lawyer with the intent of earning new business and pocketing the referral fee as opposed to trying the cases themselves.
Choosing the right class action lawyer is essential; look for someone with experience as local or lead counsel in class actions. An experienced class action lawyer can review your case and give you guidance on whether you should file your case alone or as part of a class action lawsuit.
In class actions, different types of cases can be involved. Among them are:
It is also important that the lawyer or firm you choose has experience in matters similar to yours. It is also important that you examine a firm's results to make sure their focus on individual and class action claims aligns with yours.
It is well known that the large geographical dispersion of people within a class can be a challenge in attending class action litigation. As courts only hear cases within their jurisdiction, determining where jurisdiction is and filing a claim with the right court is essential to the efficient resolution of any legal matter.
The court that hears the class action may be a state court, district court, or even a federal court, depending on the jurisdiction. These courts have unique procedures that are not common in municipal or county courts. Therefore, if you want to file a class action, you should hire an attorney who has handled proceedings in higher courts and knows where jurisdiction lies.
Unlike individual lawsuits, most class action members have little involvement with the case until it is resolved, which distinguishes them from individual lawsuits. The only exception is the lead plaintiff or lead plaintiffs of a class action case.
When you are the first to file a claim and hire an attorney, after the court identifies the case as a class action, it is deemed that you are the lead plaintiff. As the lead plaintiff, you will be in constant communication with your lawyer throughout the process with regard to settlement offers and other issues.
Considering the importance of your role in the class action, find an attorney who does not only have experience, but cares about your opinions, provides thoughtful responses to your questions, pays attention to your concerns, and responds to you as soon as possible. The same applies to the firm's staff members who are involved in your case as well.
Class action lawsuits require the lead plaintiff or lead plaintiffs to evaluate the fee agreement prior to hiring an attorney. The majority of class actions are brought on a contingency fee basis; lawyers are paid a portion of the settlement if the case wins.
There may be differences in the percentage that an attorney charges based on a contingency fee agreement. Whenever you meet with a lawyer, make sure they are upfront about their fees.
Would you like to know what the steps are to becoming a lawyer? Read our blog to learn.