What is the difference between opting in and opting out?
The terms “opting in” and “opting out” are often used in class action lawsuits. When you “opt in,” you agree to participate in the class action lawsuit. On the other hand, when you “opt out,” it means you do not wish to be a part of the class action lawsuit.
How Do I “Opt in” to a Class Action Lawsuit?
In most cases, you do not have to do anything to opt into a class action lawsuit. In fact, not responding to the class action lawsuit means you have accepted to participate in it.
You will likely receive a notice via mail about the class action lawsuit. The notice will contain everything you need to know about the lawsuit.
If you are a member of the class, chances are you will not be required to do anything (unless you are the lead plaintiff)about the case. If the lawsuit is successful, you will receive your portion of the settlement. No further action on your part might be required after that.
Can I Still File an Individual Lawsuit If I Opt in to a Class Action Lawsuit?
If you agree to opt in for a class action lawsuit, it means you also agree to waive your right to file an individual lawsuit. In other words, you cannot file a class action lawsuit and then file an individual lawsuit against the same defendant for the same reasons.
What Happens If You Opt Out of a Class Action Lawsuit?
If you opt out of a class action lawsuit, it means you reserve your right to file an individual lawsuit. This is because you are no longer a member of the class.
I Did Not Receive Any Notification About the Class Action Lawsuit—How Is That Possible?
In most cases, you will be notified via mail. However, there are times when the mail option is not possible, especially if the class consists of too many members. In that case, you may be notified via TV commercials, radio advertisements, print advertisements, and other media. It is also important to note that the court must approve the means of notification.
When Should I Opt in to a Class Action Suit?
You might want to opt into a class action lawsuit if you did not suffer serious injuries. This is because although you were injured, it would not make sense to pursue such a case via an individual lawsuit.
Chances are, the compensation for your injuries may be way less than the legal costs of pursuing the lawsuit. When you opt into a class action lawsuit, you will share the legal costs with other members of the class.
In addition, opting in is the best option if you have a busy lifestyle and do not have time to attend court sessions, depositions, and other important meetings regarding your lawsuit. When you join the class, the lead plaintiff will represent all members of the class, saving you time, energy, and resources.
This option allows you to focus on other responsibilities in your life as you await the outcome of the case. If you win the case, you will receive your share of the settlement.
When Should I Opt Out of a Class Action Lawsuit?
You might want to opt out of a class action lawsuit if you suffered serious injuries, more than most members of the class. In that case, filing an individual claim might be the most reasonable thing. This is because when you file an individual lawsuit, you may be able to maximize your claim by seeking compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Secondly, you can opt out of such a case if there are too many members in the class. This is because the final settlement amount is usually shared equally among the members of the class. Only the lead plaintiff might pocket more because they are usually more involved in the case than other class members. So if you are not the lead plaintiff, chances are whatever settlement you will receive may not reflect the actual value of your case.
Lastly, you may decide to opt out if you are unsure of the full extent of your damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help evaluate the damages you suffered following the injuries and then develop a financial estimate of the kind of settlement you should fight for. Therefore, as long as you do not have this information just yet, a class action lawsuit might not be the best idea.
The same applies if you are still receiving treatment for your injuries. In that case, you may not have the correct settlement amount you should fight for. Opting out of the class means you will keep your right to file an individual claim, ensuring you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
If you are unsure of what option works best for you, Morgan and Morgan personal injury attorneys are here to help. We will review your case free of charge and advise you on how to proceed. And if your case is valid, we might be able to represent you in and out of court.
And the best part is that you do not have to worry about not being able to afford our attorneys—we charge our clients on a contingency basis, meaning they do not pay us if we do not win.
Ready to learn more about your options? Let’s begin with a free case evaluation.