A class action is a lawsuit filed by a Lead Plaintiff/s on behalf of a multitude of other people harmed in the same manner by the defendant company. After the legal claim of harm is filed, the lead plaintiff/s must prove that there is a significantly large group of victims who been similarly harm by the company in question. The Lead plaintiff/s and that all the people harmed by the company must have suffered similar issues of harm and fact and the law must apply in the same manner to the entire group and their injuries.
Once the lawsuit is classified and certified as a class action lawsuit, the court presiding over the case will order that all persons that have been defined as affected by the company in question be notified. Notification is done through advertising in media outlets, internet mass mailings, and direct mailings through the postal service. In most of the class action lawsuits, plaintiff eligibility is automatic. That is to say, everyone that has suffered harm by the company under suspicion of wrongdoing is automatically eligible to take part in the lawsuit unless they opt out of the lawsuit.
Class action members do not participate in the case directly as with other types of lawsuits unless a member is chosen to do so. Usually, that only happens if a particular member of the class action has specific evidence that will prove vital to the case. Class action members are also excluded from any settlement decisions and they are not notified of any settlement offers until the trial is complete. The Lead Plaintiff/s and their attorneys make all the decisions on strategy and tactics throughout the length of the trial. They have sole responsibility in any and all decision making for the entire class. That includes accepting or rejecting any settlement offers made by the defendant company. If you receive a class action notice all you have to do is decide whether you want to opt in or opt out.
Once a settlement is reached or a verdict is handed down by the presiding judge, the court has to make a decision on how to divide the recovery from the agreement. The award is distributed as follows:
A defined member of class action lawsuit has the right to opt out of the class action if he/she wishes to do so. A defined member that chooses to opt out will be excluded from any part of a settlement reached in the lawsuit. A defined member of a class action lawsuit should not opt out unless that member is planning to bring individual charges on the offending company. To opt in obviously means that the individual will be included as part of the class action plaintiffs and bound by the resolution or settlement reached in the lawsuit. If a defined member is not aware of the action and did not opt out, he/she must take action as soon as possible to receive his/her share of the settlement before time to claim is over and he/she forfeits the right to any share of the award.