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How Class Action Lawsuits Work

If you have ever received a postcard in the mail notifying you that you can take part in a class action lawsuit against a particular company, you may be wondering how this whole process really works. A class action lawsuit is one that involves two or more plaintiffs, but many class action lawsuits include hundreds of plaintiffs. A commercial litigation attorney is typically hired to handle the work for the plaintiffs, and this is the person working on your behalf. Here are the three main steps used in a class action lawsuit.

Find Plaintiffs

When you receive a postcard or letter about a possible class action lawsuit, have you ever wondered why you received it? The case probably started with one person coming forward with an issue. After the lawyer reviews the claim of this one person, he or she might realize that this person is not alone.

If this is the case, the lawyer will look for all potential victims that may have also experienced the same harm or risks that the original plaintiff is claiming. To find all potential plaintiffs, the lawyer may send notifications to all current and past customers of the business the charges are against.

When people receive these notices, they have the option of taking part in the case or not. To take part, the person may have to respond by mail, phone, or online. When you decide to take part in a case, you may be asked to sign a form. This form is typically designed to state that you were affected by this claim, and that you are telling the truth about it. Each person that fills out the form for the case becomes a plaintiff in the class action lawsuit.

Proving Fault

While a class action lawsuit may have hundreds of plaintiffs, these individuals will not receive any money from the case unless the commercial litigation lawyer can prove that the defendant is guilty of the claim being made.

In most cases, the lawyer handling the case will begin to research the claim before he or she looks for plaintiffs to join the case. This is important because it’s not wise to look for plaintiffs for a case that will result in a loss. As the lawyer begins examining the initial claim, he or she might soon realize that there is a sufficient amount of evidence to prove the claim is true.

The lawyer will continue gathering evidence to support the claim, and eventually the case will be handled through mediation or court.

Negotiating the Case

The third step is negotiations. The commercial litigation lawyer will work with the defendant and his or her attorneys to come up with a resolution. The best way to do this is through mediation, which involves working with a neutral third party. The goal of mediation is to work out an agreement without going to court, and this method is preferred because it is usually faster and cheaper.

Once the settlement amount is determined, the commercial litigation lawyer will divide it up. The lawyer may receive around 25% of the entire settlement amount, and this comes out first. This money is used to cover fees involved with the case, as well as the salary for the lawyer.

The rest of the money is divided evenly between the rest of the plaintiffs. As a member of a class action lawsuit, you may receive correspondence from the attorney during the case, or you might not hear anything until you receive a check for your portion in the mail.

If you ever have a problem with a company or product you used, you can talk to a lawyer that handles commercial litigation. By doing this, you might discover that you are not alone, and this could be a start of a class action lawsuit. Learn more by visiting resources like