Class Action Lawsuits, Your Responsibilities If You are Contacted as Part of a Lawsuit

Class action lawsuits serve the purpose of having a large group of people, the class, compensated for damages or losses.  A judge will allow a class action suit when combining all the potential lawsuits into one is advisable because the facts of each case are so similar.

A few examples include all class members buying the same faulty product, being prescribed the same contaminated medicine, cheated by the same unscrupulous securities dealer or being overcharged by the same credit card company. These are also called product liability lawsuits.

If you are eligible for a class action lawsuit, you will be contacted by the class action lawyer handling the case. This is usually done through both publication and personal letter. What are your responsibilities?

In this Litigation Guide article, we will outline what you need to do if you are contacted about a class action lawsuit.

Join or Withdraw from the Case

When you are contacted as part of a class action lawsuit, you’ve got the option of joining the case or withdrawing from the case. For example, let’s say you bought a vehicle that later proved to be defective. Perhaps the car maker wouldn’t take responsibility for the problem and you had to pay to have it repaired. Or perhaps you were involved in an accident and suffered injury.

Your first option is to join the class action lawsuit and take whatever settlement is given to each member of the class. Your chances of winning are higher with this option, but the amount of compensation you receive might be lower.

A second option is to formally withdraw from the lawsuit. You might do this because you simply don’t want to sue the automaker. Or, as in most cases where a potential plaintiff withdraws, you might want to file an individual lawsuit to be more fairly compensated for your specific losses.

Withdrawing Must Be Done in Writing

If you bought the defective model of car, you are automatically included in the class action suit unless you withdraw in writing. This is done to protect members of the class and make sure that they are compensated.

If you choose to withdraw, make copies of the form used for the withdrawal. Fill it out and photocopy it. Scan it onto your computer. Keep a copy in a file that you will give to your litigation attorney in the individual lawsuit.

Choosing to Join or Withdraw From the Lawsuit

The best decision for you can only be made in consultation with a class action attorney. However, it is safe to say that an individual lawsuit will only be taken on by a class action lawyer if the potential compensation is quite large. This might be the case if you were harmed or injured by the faulty product or suffered loss worse than most.

If the suit involves the local utility overcharging and the damages are likely to be very small, it probably makes more sense to join the class action lawsuit.

These are your basic responsibilities in a class action lawsuit. For more information, contact an experienced class action attorney who can evaluate your case more specifically.