Our legal system is supposed to give all of us the chance to be heard after we have been wronged, but we all know that civil lawsuits don’t put everyone on an equal footing. This becomes all too obvious when an average person tries to take legal action against a large corporation.
A wealthy corporation can afford to hire teams of highly paid and highly trained attorneys, and have them delay legal proceedings as long as it needs to. The average person can’t afford to do that. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage.
A class action lawsuit can help narrow the gap, and give ordinary people a fighting chance against a powerful corporation.
Starting a class action lawsuit
A class action lawsuit involves a large group of individuals who join forces in one legal action. The group is known as the class, and the lawsuit is filed on behalf of everyone who belongs to the class.
Before a court will certify a class, it wants to see that all the individual members have cases with the same legal issues and substantially similar factual issues in common. The claims and defenses in each individual case must be similar, and the individuals who initiate the lawsuit must faithfully represent the interests of everyone in the class.
Legal issues in class action lawsuits
Class action lawsuits can involve a wide range of legal issues. Some involve employment law, as when a large number of employees claim they have been subjected to illegal discrimination from a large employer.
Many other class action lawsuits involve product liability. This is an area of the law that allows consumers to hold businesses liable for their damages after they have been injured due to a defective product.
One typical scenario involves a patient who has been injured due to a defectively designed medical device. The injured patient quickly discovers that thousands of other people were injured due to the same problem, and so they join their claims together in a class action.
A class action allows consumers to pool their resources so that they can better stand up to powerful corporations. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to win a class action case. Attorneys with experience in class actions can help people understand their options.