Class action lawsuits are effective ways for several people harmed by a party to take legal action without having to pursue individual claims. And whether you learn about a class action from a mailing, social media or by talking to an attorney, you may find yourself in a position to consider joining a class action lawsuit.
Before you decide, there are a few things to think about.
What you stand to gain
When it comes to class actions, there are a few reasons people decide to join them (or not opt out of them):
- To get money
- To hold a negligent or reckless party accountable for bad actions
- To prevent similar situations in the future
Knowing your primary motivation can help you manage your expectations and hopefully be more satisfied with the outcome.
For instance, if you are in a class action for monetary gain, it is important to know that settlements and payouts can vary widely. While some claims can lead to thousands of dollars for plaintiffs, others can have more modest payout expectations. Talking to an attorney about what you as an individual might expect to receive can be a good idea.
Do you want to pursue your own claim?
Sometimes, people choose not to be in a class because they wish to pursue an individual claim. ‘
The benefits of this include being in a position to get a larger payout and potentially securing faster resolutions; the drawbacks include requiring more participation and money from the individual plaintiff.
Different roles to play
Another important consideration is how much of a role you want or hope to play.
In some cases, being one of dozens or even hundreds of people can be just fine. You won’t have much (or any) individual responsibility, and you may never have to step foot in court.
If you have been seriously harmed by another party, you may want to play a more significant role in the legal process. If you are in a class action, you might want to be the lead plaintiff if you are very passionate about the case, but otherwise, you may have little or no control over the process.
Assessing your options
Considering these issues before you make any decisions in favor of or against being part of a class action lawsuit can be crucial. Doing so helps you make informed decisions and pursue your desired outcome.