Power in numbers is especially true in a class action case. If you have been harmed by a company or another type of party along with a group of people, our St. Charles class action lawyers can help you build a case.
At Morelli Law Firm, our team of personal injury lawyers in St. Charles have over 25 years of experience helping classes of plaintiffs recover the compensation they qualify for.
What Is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class action lawsuit is a legal case where a group of people with similar injuries or losses sue the responsible party together. Typically, these cases involve a defective product, false advertising, financial fraud, or another widespread issue that has negatively and similarly impacted many people.
It allows a large group of people with a common complaint to file suit together rather than each person having to file their lawsuit. This makes the legal process more efficient. One or more people represent the interests of the entire class as “lead plaintiffs.”
All others with similar claims are “class members.” To proceed as a class action, the people and their injuries must be similar enough to warrant a single lawsuit. There must be common questions of law and fact. If the class action is successful, any settlement or award is distributed to compensate all class members, not just the lead plaintiffs.
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Class Action vs. Mass Tort
Class actions consolidate cases that share common questions of law and fact, and plaintiffs request the same remedy. Mass torts involve large groups of individualized lawsuits stemming from the same product, incident, or action. Class actions have three stages: certification by the court, pretrial, and trial.
Mass tort cases proceed through traditional stages of individual lawsuits. Settlement proceeds in a class action are distributed to the entire class. Mass tort settlements compensate plaintiffs on a case-by-case basis.
Plaintiffs in a class action are automatically included as class members unless they opt out. Mass tort plaintiffs must affirmatively opt in. Overall, mass torts allow for more individual control compared to class action suits.
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Benefits of a Class Action
There are several key benefits to pursuing compensation through a class action lawsuit rather than through individual claims. Some of the benefits include:
Access to Legal Resources
By joining together, a class action provides people access to legal resources they might not otherwise be able to afford on their own. The costs of litigation, such as attorneys fees, filing fees, discovery expenses, and expert witnesses, are split amongst the entire class rather than falling on one person. This allows lower-income individuals and small claims a realistic opportunity to have their day in court against well-funded defendants.
Potential for Higher Settlements
With more total plaintiffs and larger aggregate potential damages at stake, defendants have a greater incentive to offer higher settlement amounts to resolve the entire class action in one fell swoop rather than dragging the matter out over many individual suits. The scale of hundreds or thousands of people seeking compensation increases the negotiating leverage of class counsel. Settlement figures for larger classes are routinely higher than what a single person could reasonably expect in one-on-one settlement talks.
Rather than clogging court dockets and wasting judicial resources to resolve thousands of nearly identical cases separately, a class action allows a single court to efficiently oversee common issues and enter a judgment applying to the entire class at once. This streamlined process conserves court time and taxpayer money while speeding compensation to injured parties faster than serial individual trials ever could.
All class members receive consistent, equitable treatment. The same objective, a court-decided formula, determines each person’s compensation without variance.
Individual settlements carry a risk that similarly situated people end up with drastically unequal payouts depending on the lawyer, bargaining power, or other subjective factors in their unique case. Class members find uniform fairness.
Potential Class Action Cases
There are several different types of class action cases. Some situations where our St. Charles class action attorneys may suggest pursuing a class action lawsuit include:
- Consumer fraud: When large groups of consumers are misled by false advertising or deceptive business practices.
- Product liability: If a defective product injures consumers due to design flaws or manufacturing issues.
- Securities fraud: When shareholder losses result from corporate fraud or misinformation.
- Antitrust violations: Companies that engage in anticompetitive business practices may be sued.
- Mass disasters: Class actions may be filed after environmental disasters, plane crashes, or other negligent incidents.
- Employment issues: Workplace discrimination, failure to pay wages, and other labor violations can prompt class actions.
- Data breaches: When sensitive consumer data is compromised due to negligence.
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How a Class Action Works
Taking on a class action case requires a long litigation process. Our experienced class action lawyer in St. Charles will guide you through each key step involved in a class action lawsuit:
We thoroughly evaluate the facts to assess potential grounds and merits for a class suit. We gather vital information during our initial case investigation to determine how best to build a strong case.
We petition the court to recognize the class and appoint lead plaintiffs to represent class members during the class certification process. This involves convincing the court that the proposed class meets the criteria to allow the case to proceed as a class action.
Extensive information is exchanged with the defense during the discovery phase, covering important details of the situation, potential defendants, and damages incurred. This evidence-gathering process helps strengthen our understanding while weakening the other side’s stance.
Most class actions end in settlement agreements prior to trial through negotiations between the parties. We negotiate on behalf of the class to maximize the recovery that class members will receive. Settling saves the time and costs of proceeding to trial.
If no settlement can be reached, we extensively prepare for trial by compiling evidence, consulting experts, and readying witnesses to present the case to the jury effectively. At trial, we aim to persuade them regarding the liability of the defense and deserved damages for the harm.
After the trial concludes, procedures such as post-trial motions, appeals, and compliance may still be required to finalize resolutions. We ensure all post-trial obligations are properly managed through claims processing and distributing the proceeds awarded to deserving class members.
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Class actions level the playing field and maximize recovery when you’ve been injured by a corporation or company. Our experienced St. Charles class action attorney at Morelli Law Firm is ready and willing to fight aggressively on your behalf.
Contact us today for a free case review.