What is a Class-Action Lawsuit and Should I Join One?

Women Who Money
6 min readNov 19, 2020

When people receive notices identifying them as a class member in a class-action lawsuit, they might not fully understand what that means.

These types of notices generally include basic information about the litigation and provide you with a choice to opt-out.

When you’re trying to decide whether to join or file a class-action lawsuit, it’s a good idea to understand the advantages and disadvantages of these kinds of claims.

What is a Class-action Lawsuit?

A class-action lawsuit is brought by one or several plaintiffs on behalf of a class for which the members share similar injuries.

These lawsuits are filed against defendants who’ve caused shared harms because of their actions or failures to act.

One or more lead plaintiffs represent the class members collectively. The claims of the lead plaintiffs should reflect all of the class members’ claims. The lead plaintiffs and their attorneys make legal decisions for the entire class.

To make a class-action lawsuit worthwhile, many people who’ve suffered similar harms because of the defendants’ actions should join together instead of filing many different individual lawsuits.

Plaintiffs typically file class-action suits in cases involving matters such as labor law violations, defective products, dangerous drugs, and other issues affecting many people in similar ways.

Some class-action lawsuits have helped to change the lives of people in positive ways.

For example, the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to desegregation and an acceleration in the civil rights drive. Other case examples include the Takata airbag class-action lawsuit, opioid class-action suits, and numerous others.

Who benefits from a class-action suit?

When many people suffer injury or harm due to a defendant’s actions, participating in a class-action lawsuit can offer several benefits.

People joining together to file a lawsuit against a company helps provide greater strength to the claims because of the sheer number of class members.

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