When accidents and injuries are suspected to have been caused by an act of negligence, either by an individual or a company, it shouldn’t be just dropped and forgotten. More so if the case wasn’t isolated, and has occurred to several other victims too. For example, defective products that caused harm to its consumers.
In cases like this, the group of people who have fallen victim to a potential act of negligence should consolidate their claims and file a class action lawsuit to recover compensation for their losses.
A class-action lawsuit is a collective legal claim filed by a representative on behalf of a group of individuals allegedly harmed by the negligence of the same defendant. A common example is when you and other people were harmed by defective products from the same brand or manufacturer.
However, just like other legal proceedings, dealing with a class-action lawsuit can be a tricky process. A single wrong move may affect the plaintiffs’ chances to win the case and receive the compensation they deserve for the injuries or losses they may have suffered.
Thus, to ensure a successful class-action lawsuit filing, below are the three most important steps you should remember:
1. Evaluate The Validity Of The Potential Case
The first step in ensuring a successful filing of a class-action lawsuit is to determine if the case is valid, to begin with. You can find this out by consulting with a reliable lawyer who specializes in handling class action lawsuits. According to Sadaka Associates, the prerequisite to file this type of lawsuit is the presence of an injury. Moreover, there are many advantages when similar claims from multiple victims are consolidated into one lawsuit against the same potential defendant.
To make sure that the lawsuit you’ll be filing is valid, you need the assistance of a legal professional to get a proper assessment of your case. Your lawyer may also find out if there are other victims that may want to join the lawsuit, or if there are already lawsuits filed against the same defendant. If your case is valid for a lawsuit, your lawyer will also help to make sure that you can file it within the statute of limitations in your area of jurisdiction.
2. File With The Court
Once your lawyer confirms the validity of your case, you can proceed to file it with the proper court. If it turns out that there are other pending lawsuits similar to yours, they’ll likely be added to your case. However, remember that even if a lawsuit can be filed as a proposed class action, it doesn’t automatically get a class status until the presiding judge decides so, which can only be done through a hearing. This legal process is called class certification.
To get a class certification ruling and make the filing a success, the following criteria should be met:
Numerosity: This requirement isn’t just about the number of individuals participating in the class action lawsuit. More than the figures, the numerosity requirement may also include the complexity and size of the individual claims, the difficulty of locating the class members, and the types of claims and relief being sought by the plaintiffs.
Commonality: This pertains to the similarity of the claims of the class members. But to further establish this requirement in a class-action lawsuit, it’s important for the class members to prove they have similar claims and that the manner in which the claims arose is also the same. Hence, if the injuries sustained by the plaintiffs can’t be established with commonality, then a class action lawsuit may not be applicable.
Typicality: This will require the class members to show that their claims are connected and are of the same interest. This means the claims should have the same characteristics, particularly in the type of injuries incurred.
Adequacy: To satisfy this requirement, the representative plaintiff should demonstrate that they can adequately represent the interests of the class members. On the other hand, the court may evaluate whether there are conflicting interests between the named representative and the class members and whether the lawyer handling the case is capable of representing the class competently.
3. Await Certification
When the group of cases is successfully granted class status, the court will assign a lead plaintiff for the group. The lead plaintiff will also be the official representative and name of the party. After the certification, notifications will be sent out to prospective members. If there are other people or potential victims who may want to join the class, they can be automatically enrolled as long as they meet the criteria.
Once a settlement is finally reached, all class members will be notified. Compensations, often in cash, can then be processed and claimed.
The Bottom Line
Initiating and filing a class-action lawsuit can be a complicated undertaking, especially if you have no idea how and where to start. Without proper planning and preparation, you may be unable to file it successfully. Therefore, if you want your class action lawsuit filing to be successful, keep these steps in mind and make sure to consult with an experienced class action lawyer. Soon enough, you’ll be on your way towards obtaining the compensation you deserve for your losses.