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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Class Action Attorney on Monday, October 1, 2018.
Consumer Class Action Lawsuits

What is a class-action lawsuit?

A class-action lawsuit occurs when a group of people with identical or similar injuries caused by the same product, service, or event sue the an individual or entity as a collective group. Common causes for class-action lawsuits include: defective products such as motor vehicles or pharmaceutical drugs, or suffering as the result of misconduct such as consumer fraud or employment practices. There are many reasons a class-action lawsuit can be filed, but all aim to represent a large group of people who have been wronged in the same way by the same offending individual, company, or organization.

Class-action lawsuits can be beneficial for those involved, as they reduce congestion of the courts and can deliver justice on a more efficient timetable. Rather than litigating and deciding each individual’s case one by one, a class-action lawsuit enables those affected to participate simultaneously. Additionally, because many individuals are represented at one time, it can often lower the cost of litigation significantly.

What is the difference between a class-action lawsuit and a civil lawsuit?

In a class-action lawsuit, hundreds – or thousands – of individuals are able to sue for justice simultaneously. Those who have joined the lawsuit do not necessarily need to be present in court, and although there is often a focus on compensation for losses or damages, class-action lawsuits can also result in important precedents and policy changes that may improve and industry, increased product safety, or other similar outcomes.

A civil lawsuit, by contrast, is a single victim holding a responsible party accountable for injury, death, or financial or emotional losses. In a civil lawsuit, all parties are present in the courtroom and the verdict applies only to the singular plaintiff and defendant, rather than hundreds or thousands of additional individuals.

How do I know if I can join a class-action lawsuit?

In many cases, you do not need to do anything to join the lawsuit. Sometimes you are given the  option to opt-out, if you so choose, but barring your decision to do so you may be automatically included as part of a lawsuit. In other instances, you may be presented with an “opt-in” case, meaning the opposite of the aforementioned opt-out. In this event, you must affirmatively elect to participate in order to be included in the class-action lawsuit.

Generally speaking, those representing the individuals suing the person or entity will try to make all possible attempts to inform those parties who may be involved about the lawsuit, including using billboards, commercials, posters, radio ads, and any other means to identify and communicate with those who may have been victimized.

What class-action lawsuits has Kristensen LLP represented?

Kristensen LLP has an established history of fighting corrupt manufacturers on behalf of victimized consumers. Our firm is currently investigating the tragic explosion caused by Columbia Gas  in the town of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover in Massachusetts.