What is a class action lawsuit?

If you decide to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages, you have two options to take legal action against another party. You can file an individual civil lawsuit or a class action lawsuit. If a plaintiff has already initiated a class action lawsuit against another party, you can join the class action as a member. Class action lawsuits typically address product liability issues, such as a defective motor vehicle or a prescription drug that caused harm to consumers that took the medication.

The legal foundation for a class action lawsuit is to demonstrate the defendant committed one or more acts of negligence that caused injuries to the members of the plaintiff class. For example, one of the most publicized class action lawsuits over the past 20 years involved the herbicide Roundup. A judge overseeing several individual lawsuits consolidated the individual lawsuits into one class action. The judge’s rationale for consolidating the lawsuits concerned reducing the number of repetitive legal actions.

What is a class action lawsuit? A class action lawsuit brings together many plaintiffs that share the same type of legal case. In the case of the herbicide Roundup, dozens of individual cases consolidated into one class action. A business or an individual becomes the lead plaintiff by representing the rest of the group of individual plaintiffs. At Morgan and Morgan, our experienced attorneys have filed numerous class action lawsuits, as well as recommended that certain clients join class action lawsuits.

If you want to learn more about what is a class action lawsuit, schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the product liability lawyers at Morgan and Morgan.

More answers to commonly asked questions

A class action lawsuit represents a type of legal action that brings together a group of individuals that have sustained similar injuries as a result of the same type of negligence. One individual or owner of a business represents the class members as the lead plaintiff. Although the legal issues vary depending on the type of case, a majority of class action lawsuits involve a product liability claim. You can file a class action lawsuit in state or federal court, with a federal court taking precedence if the lead plaintiff accuses the defendant of violating federal law.

If you can receive more money by filing an individual lawsuit, why would you want to file a class action lawsuit? The first reason concerns the value of the monetary damages you suffered because of a personal injury incident. If you sustained minor injuries that generated minimal financial losses, joining a class action lawsuit makes sense because the cost of litigating a class action lawsuit is spread out among many clients. Second, joining a class action lawsuit means you do not have to show up during the trial phase of the litigation process. The lead plaintiff’s attorney does all the heavy lifting by filing documents before deadlines, as well as questioning witnesses during live court proceedings. Third, filing a class action lawsuit removes every individual lawsuit litigating the same type of legal case from the court docket. Fewer individual lawsuits clear a significant portion of a court docket, which helps move other cases faster through the legal system.

Once you receive a formal legal notice informing you about the opportunity to join a class action lawsuit, you should contact one of the highly-rated attorneys at Morgan and Morgan who specializes in litigating class action lawsuits. You have to decide whether you want to join the class action lawsuit or file an individual civil lawsuit that might generate a higher value for monetary damages.

If you decide to join other plaintiffs to file a class action lawsuit, this means you have decided to opt in and join the other members of the class. On the other hand, if you decide to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages, you have decided to opt out of the class action lawsuit. The attorney who you meet with from Morgan and Morgan for a free case evaluation explains the advantages and disadvantages of opting in and out of a class action lawsuit.

One of the most important roles of a class action attorney is to prove the four elements of negligence. Without demonstrating the four elements of negligence, every member of a class cannot expect to win an award for compensation. The first element is proving the defendant had a duty of care to protect the members of the class from sustaining injuries. For most class action cases, proving duty of care is the easiest element to prove.

As the second element of proving negligence, showing the defendant violated the duty of care doctrine requires the lead class action lawyer to submit overwhelmingly persuasive physical evidence. This includes photographs of injuries and statements made by witnesses. For the third element of proving negligence, the lead class action attorney must link the incident to your injuries. Copies of accurately dated medical records and the properly dated official incident report can help you prove the third element of negligence. Finally, you must show your injuries generated financial losses.

Schedule a free case evaluation with a Morgan and Morgan class action attorney to determine how to proceed with your case.