When multiple people with similar or the same injuries caused by a product file a lawsuit as a group, a class action lawsuit occurs. According to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, across federal and state courts, plaintiffs filed 428 new class action cases in 2019.
In some cases, individual injuries do not amount to enough to support a complete lawsuit. But when plaintiffs band together, the value of the case increases. This approach also allows plaintiffs to consolidate evidence, witnesses and attorneys to enhance the efficiency of the case.
Examples of class action suits
Here are a few examples of class action lawsuits:
- A group of employees harmed by discrimination in the workplace files a lawsuit against their employer.
- After taking a prescription drug with harmful side effects, multiple patients file a lawsuit.
- A toxic spill damages a neighborhood and the residents of the homes in the area file a class action case.
One common type of class action lawsuit occurs when a group of consumers harmed by a defective product file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of that item.
Finding potential class members
Before filing the class action lawsuit, every person affected by the situation has the right to receive notification about the potential for the lawsuit. After all members receive notification, they can either decide to opt in or out. Those who opt out of the class action may still decide to file a case on their own in hopes of achieving a different outcome.