Product Liability and Class Action Lawsuits
A class action lawsuit is when a group of people who suffered same or similar injuries, as a result of a particular product or defective design, bring a legal case against the product’s manufacturer. Plaintiffs, in these cases, are seeking accountability for such things as pharmaceutical drugs, vehicles, and other everyday products and devices. Pursuing a class action lawsuit will represent others who were injured by the product and have claims as well. There is strength in numbers in these cases, and that really helps when going up against large corporations. A large settlement can result in millions distributed to the victims.Purposes of a Class Action Lawsuit
Negligent companies may try to defuse a matter, saying someone’s injuries were a minor, isolated incident, and not worth requiring the action to address and correct. However, by adding more participants in the pursuit of a claim, the value of the claims starts to increase and can add credibility. Also, suing as a larger class allows consolidation of the attorneys and the plaintiffs, and increased efficiency in gathering evidence, obtaining witnesses, and the other important aspects of an investigation. This consolidation results in greater results overall and added benefit to each plaintiff involved.Signing up for a Class Action Lawsuit
Each plaintiff who would be impacted by the court's judgment in the class action is granted notice that the class action lawsuit has started. Providing individual notice is not always possible in every case, as some class action lawsuit participants can involve hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Every effort should be made to provide the best notice possible.
The plaintiffs who are notified then have the choice to join the action, referred to as "opting in." Plaintiffs also have the choice to remove themselves from the lawsuit, meaning they "opt out." However, depending on the stage of the litigation, opting out is not always possible. It is essential to carefully consider all options when pursuing a class action lawsuit.Class Action Judgments
Class action lawsuits require extensive research, significantly more than in an individual lawsuit. Upon judgment, all participating plaintiffs are held by the final court decision.
Payment to plaintiffs in class action lawsuits typically follows a "plan of distribution." Along with attorneys, the judge creates a plan to distribute the amounts owed to plaintiffs in the lawsuit minus the litigation costs. Each member of the class action lawsuit may receive a percentage of the total number given, or they could each get a specific dollar amount.
For some settlements, attorneys can request an individualized, extensive review of each plaintiff’s claim, to help show the amount given corresponds directly to the value of their claim, though this is a rare circumstance. Upon an agreed settlement, the appointed judge will approve the agreement, ensuring it is fair to all parties.Punitive Damages
Punitive damages can be awarded when proof is given that the defendant’s actions were intentionally malicious, fraudulent, or reckless. Punitive damages are not necessary to compensate the plaintiff for their suffering, but instead, to punish the defendant and send a message to prevent others from engaging in similar practices.How an Attorney can Help You
At Bridgewater Law Group, we advocate for our clients. We know many of the strategies used by product manufacturers and distribution companies, and we know how to counter them. Let our attorneys help you win your case. We know when a fair settlement is being offered and when there is more yet to be won. We will fight for the best compensation. We value all members of a class action lawsuit and pursue their best interests. We are stronger together, and together we can hold negligent companies accountable.No Fee Unless We Win
Your win is our win, and we do not settle for anything less. Working on a contingency basis means there is no cost to you unless we win. With nothing to lose, you have everything to gain. Give us a call today for a free consultation, and in less than 30 minutes, we will know what we can do for your class action lawsuit case.