Class Action

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A “class action” lawsuit is really nothing more than the consolidation of several related lawsuits into one. Not all lawsuits are eligible to become class actions, in fact, most cannot. However, if there are numerous plaintiffs (or possibly defendants), all with common legal issues to resolve, then a judge may allow them to join together as a class.

When feasible, a class action can be an efficient alternative to individual lawsuits. Rather than several hundred, or even several thousand individual cases clogging up the judicial system, a class action can be handled in one courtroom, in front of one judge.

Class action lawsuits have a “class representative.” The class representative is best thought of as the “main” plaintiff (or possibly defendant). The class representative represents the interests of all of the members of the class. So while there may be hundreds of class members spread throughout the country, only one, i.e., the class representative, needs to show up in court.

You may join a class action lawsuit if your injuries and legal issues are substantially similar to other class members. In fact, in some instances, you may be bound by a judicial decision in a class action suit if you do not expressly “opt out” by informing the court that you do not wish to be a part of the class. If you have suffered more severe injuries than the other class members, you may want to contact an attorney who can help you decide whether to file your own individual lawsuit.