Class Actions in the District of Columbia
When many people have a similar or identical legal dispute with a company, it is sometimes most effective to file a class action lawsuit against the business. A class action consolidates all legal claims into a single case heard in federal court, a Washington, D.C., court or a state court. The court hears a representative claim and then makes a judgment on behalf of all of the parties to the dispute. If you think you have reason to file a class action against a company, contact a class action attorney today.
Should You Participate in a Class Action?
When attorneys file a class action lawsuit, they often don't know the names of all of the people who might have similar or identical claims against a company. (These people are known as the plaintiffs or the class). Instead the lawyers will file the lawsuit on behalf of some named individuals as well as other people or companies that are similarly affected.
At some point in the proceedings (typically after a settlement has been reached or if the court finds in favor of the class), each class member must make a choice:
- File a claim for compensation under the terms of the settlement or court judgment
- Opt-out of the award or settlement and file an individual lawsuit against the company
- Do nothing, giving up your right to either collect money from the class action and giving up your right to file an individual lawsuit in Washington, D.C., Superior Court
How do you decide if you should participate in the class action or pursue a separate lawsuit? The answer will depend on a number of factors.
A class action lawsuit is often the most efficient and cost-effective means of resolving hundreds or thousands of claims against a company. So, when deciding whether to participate in a class action, it makes sense to start your analysis looking at the issues of time and money.
How much can you reasonably expect to receive from the class action? Do you think the award is fair? How much would it cost you to hire an attorney and file a civil lawsuit against the company? Can you afford the legal fees even if you don't win your case?
You also want to ask yourself how long it would take to resolve independent litigation against a company. In many instances, it can take several years to reach resolution. Suppose the class action is related to a defective drug that injured you. Can you afford to pay your medical bills while waiting to resolve a lawsuit?
You'll also want to assess the probability that your lawsuit will be successful. Remember, just because the class won its lawsuit doesn't necessarily mean that you'll win yours. And if you choose to opt out and end up losing your case, you're no longer entitled to make a claim for compensation from the class action.
Find & Hire Local District of Columbia Class Actions Attorneys
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