Individual Or Class Action Injury Law
Is it better for us to bring individual lawsuits against the people responsible or to join a class action lawsuit? What are the factors we should consider in deciding whether to join as a member of a class or file individually?
A class action lawsuit must be authorized by a judge. Generally, there are specific reasons for authorizing a class action lawsuit: number of plaintiffs, similarity of grievances, ability of one lawsuit to settle all cases, etc. Class action lawsuits, once initiated, can prevent plaintiffs from filing individually.
In general, class action lawsuits save time and money by dealing with several cases, using one attorney in front of one judge. However, class action lawsuits decided in favor of the plaintiffs sometimes return lower amounts than a non-class action lawsuit would have for any one individual. Then again, sharing information among plaintiffs can drastically increase chances for settlement in class action lawsuits, while some plaintiffs would receive nothing if they filed an independent suit.
If you have already received notice of a pending class action and have not opted out within the allotted time limit, you are committed to the class action route and are bound by the resolution in the pending class action litigation. If you have received a notice and are in the position of trying to decide whether or not to bring a claim on your own, you can consider some of the following factors:
· how serious your damages are – if they are severe, you might have a better chance of getting more money on your own;
· how long you are willing to wait for resolution – a case on your own might drag on quite a bit longer, given that it is up to you and your attorney to prove the case against the relevant defendants;
· how much involvement you want to have in the day-to-day aspects of your claim – you will spend considerably more time dealing with the details of an individual lawsuit than you would as a participant in a class action; and
· where the claim will be brought – if you are in a state that typically awards lower damages for mold claims, you might be better off as part of a class action, which will generally be brought by an attorney in a more “friendly” venue.
It might be wise to consult with an experienced mold attorney to discuss the benefits and risks of bringing a claim on your own before you decide whether or not to participate in a class action.
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