A class action is basically a legal proceeding wherein one or more plaintiffs file a lawsuit on behalf of everyone in the group. Class action lawsuits are also known as mass tort litigation or multi-district litigation, and the defendant is typically a company. The people involved could opt to take the case to court or settle it out of court. Generally speaking, the most common kinds of class action cases include defective products, securities fraud, employee complaints, unsafe drugs, and environmental pollution.
Settling a Class Action Lawsuit
A class action settlement occurs when the plaintiffs or class decides to stop their class action so that they can settle the lawsuit out of court with the defendant. But unlike typical personal injury settlements, settling class actions require the approval of the court to make certain that settling will be in the entire class’ best interests, explains a class action mediation lawyer from Littleton Alternative Dispute Resolution, Inc.
Notice of Settlement
If the settlement goes through, all individuals who are part of the class action will be sent a notice of settlement. This notice contains details on each of the plaintiff’s legal rights and obligations concerning the settlement. All plaintiffs will likewise need to respond to the settlement notice so that they can claim their settlement.
The specific kind of legal remedy that plaintiffs will receive in class action settlement differs based on the class action lawsuit. For example, some plaintiffs receive rebates or free products and services, while others receive compensation in the form of cash. In most cases, the defendant will pay a lump sum payment that will be divided equally among all the individuals in the class action. The legal fees will be subtracted from damage award rather than being paid by the plaintiffs individually.
Once you have received the terms and conditions of the class action settlement, you need to read them thoroughly and make sure that you understand them. Take note that once you have agreed to the settlement, you will no longer be allowed to take any legal action against the defendant. With this in mind, you should go over the settlement agreement with an experienced lawyer to determine whether accepting the settlement is in your best interest or opting out of it and filing your own claim will be better for you.