Hidden Costs of a Class Action Lawsuit
Have you ever received a notice in the mail notifying you that may be eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit? Class action lawsuits are a special type of lawsuit that combines the claims of a number of different people who have been harmed by the same defendant in the same way. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the group rather than each of the individuals having to file what is essentially the same lawsuit, providing the same evidence, and going through the same proceedings. Class action lawsuits are designed to be more efficient than individual lawsuits: all of those who join the case are bound to the decisions made on behalf of the group, and those who do not wish to be part of the class action are able to opt out and pursue claims on their own. There are a lot of benefits to participating in this way: those who have been harmed by a product do not have to appear in court, and many people end up getting the benefit of an award that they might not have thought to pursue on their own. But there are also hidden costs of a class action lawsuit that may mean that it is not in your best interests to join. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we believe that it is our job to provide our clients with the best legal counsel that we can provide so that they can make decisions that work for them. If you are considering joining a class action lawsuit for an injury that you’ve suffered, here are some things that are worth considering.
Though class action lawsuits provide the advantage of lower litigation costs out of pocket and less cumulative court time, there are distinct disadvantages too. One is the lack of control over any decisions that are being made for the group. Though class action lawsuits provide the opportunity for all plaintiffs to receive damages, they also mean that you can’t have your own say on whether you think that a deal that is being offered is good or not – or if you do get to vote, your vote is one among many, and has less power.
Another disadvantage is that class action lawsuits do not always provide compensation that is useful for you. Though most people would prefer to be paid in cash, there are many times that a defendant’s settlement will come in the form of a discount of credit to purchase something that the plaintiff would not have chosen to buy: in one notable case against Ford Motor Company, plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit each received $500 coupons towards the purchase of a new vehicle – this is something that very few ended up taking advantage of.
Making the decision as to whether to join a class action lawsuit is often a question of how significant the damages that you personally suffered are. This should be weighed carefully. For help understanding all of the legal issues and ramifications of your decision, contact the experienced attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today.