If you have ever seen an ad, received a piece of direct mail or an email about a class-action lawsuit, then you may have many different questions. These lawsuits are brought by a group of people against an individual or a product where all members of the group have a similar complaint. A class-action lawsuit may be brought against a person or group who has too much clout to sue alone, where there are limited damages or to stop an individual or corporation from continuing to do wrong. While they are effective in many cases, there are limitations to class-action lawsuits including these four.
Loss of Individuality
One of the limitations of a class-action lawsuit is the loss of individual control. If your case is stronger than many of those involved in the suit, then you will still only get the settlement that the average person in the case receives if any. It is always a good idea to see if you can identify the main complaints and see if yours is very similar. If you have more damages or have been injured in a unique way, then a class-action lawsuit may not be for you.
Deprived of Individual Control
Most of the control in a class-action lawsuit remains with the lawyer in charge. The individual who joins these lawsuits has no control over rather a settlement should be accepted or if the case should be advanced to a higher court. The individual also gets no say over the arguments that are made in court. Furthermore, individuals lose control over whether attorneys should be hired or fired. While the cost of a class-action lawsuit comes out of the settlement, the individual has no control over how much compensation lawyers should receive.
Accept Type of Settlement
The vast majority of class-action lawsuits settle for money. Other times, a judge may order the company to issue a rebate or coupons for future services. If you are seeking any other type of compensation, then you may not want to participate in these lawsuits. Keep in mind that discounts, rebates and coupons may not do you any good if you have cut ties with the company that is being sued. In some cases, the individual never sees any money because the company declares bankruptcy.
Need to Travel
If you would like to hear the court case, then you need to travel to the courtroom where the case is being heard. Often this can be miles away from your home. You will usually have to cover your own expenses, and you may have to take extended time off of work. Most class-action lawsuits are held in state or federal courts.
The decision to participate in a class-action lawsuit is a very personal one. It is often best to talk to a lawyer, like those from D Chadwick Calvert Law Office, before agreeing to participate or opting out.
Author Info: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can find her on Twitter.