If you are one of many individuals harmed by a large corporation, should you join a class action lawsuit or file a private lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is filed against an entity by an individual or small group of people, referred to as “class representatives” on behalf of a larger group of people who have experienced the same injury and have about the same type of damages. This type of lawsuit is cost effective if many people are owed a small amount of money. For example, if a bank charged an illegal fee of $100 to thousands of customers, one individual could bring a class action lawsuit for everyone experiencing the same injury; and, the lawyer’s fee can be paid from the class action award. It would be difficult for an individual to hire a lawyer to file suit for only a $100 in damages. The money recovered probably would not be enough to cover the attorney’s fee. A private lawsuit is brought on by an individual for the purpose of recovering damages for only the person filing the lawsuit. There are pros and cons of each type of lawsuit.
Class Action Lawsuits
● Pros – In the above example, the benefit is that a company harming individuals in a small way can be brought to justice. Class action lawsuits also save the courts time, as they are dealing with one lawsuit instead of many. The big advantage is that an individual suffering a small monetary injury can get access to legal representation and seek redress against the wrongdoer.
● Cons – As in the example, payouts are usually small. The majority of the individuals involved in a class action lawsuit also have little control over how the case proceeds in litigation.
If you experienced significantly more harm than others involved in a class action lawsuit, you should consider a private lawsuit.
● Pros – Your individual case will be represented by an attorney hired by you. You have more control over how the case is handled; and, there will be frequent contact with your attorney.
● Cons – If an entity’s wrongdoing has affected a large group of people, an individual lawsuit with a small payout isn’t likely to get their attention. The entity’s bad behavior may continue. Private lawsuits also often involve out of pocket cost and expenses which come out of any settlement amount recovered. Also, there’s a much greater chance your case will go to trial with a private lawsuit.
If you have been harmed and you are unsure as to whether or not you want to pursue a private lawsuit or join a class action lawsuit, Wilson Law, P.A. can help. Your initial consultation is FREE so contact us today.