Alabama Class Action Lawyers
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When you learn that you are one of many who suffered similar physical or financial injuries because of the same or similar conduct by another party, then you should speak with our class action lawyers. You may be part of a class action lawsuit, yet there is no way to know until an experienced lawyer investigates and analyzes the circumstances. After you are in an accident or harmed by some other person or business’s actions, you may learn you are not the only victim. The defective product that burned you may have burned hundreds of others. The unfair business practices by a major retailer may have caused you and thousands more to over-pay.
Contact our class action lawsuit attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. to schedule a free consultation at 205-933-1500. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our attorneys can quickly travel to investigate your case and may be able to help you obtain compensation.
If you were injured and suspect that many others are also victims, you may be wondering: What are class action lawsuits? A class action is a lawsuit filed by a representative plaintiff who pursues the legal claim on behalf of a class. The class includes everyone who was similarly injured because of the at-fault party’s conduct, except the parties who have voluntarily opted out of the claim.
If a class action lawsuit is resolved through a settlement or jury award, then after the legal team is paid, the remaining amount is divided amongst the members of the class. How the compensation is divided varies depending on the case. Each member may receive equal amounts or certain members, who were more seriously injured, may receive a greater portion than class members with minor injuries.
The “Class” in a Class Action
A class must be certified by a judge. It is not something a plaintiff and their lawyers can simply say exists. The potential representative plaintiff must ask a judge to review the circumstances, agree there is a potential class action lawsuit, and certify the class. Then, potential class members must be notified of their rights and the suit.
You may receive a letter or email that says you are class member because you fit certain criteria. For instance, purchasing a certain defective product during a specific time period may make you part of a class regarding harm caused by that product. The letter or email usually states that if you wish to retain your own right to sue the defendant or do not wish to partake in a future judgment or settlement, then you may opt out.
To learn more about being a class member, do not hesitate to call us and schedule a time to speak with one of our class action lawyers.
The Representative Plaintiff
The representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit is the individual, or small group of people who personally deal with the lawsuit. If you are one of the first people to determine that you may be part of a class action, then you may be in the position to choose to be a representative plaintiff.
During a class action lawsuit, the representative plaintiff and their class action attorneys must prove the other party’s actions were illegal and caused each person within the class the same or a similar harm.
At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we handle the common types of class action lawsuits and more, including:
- Defective products
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective medical devices
- Environmental exposure/toxic substances
- Consumer fraud
- Defective auto parts
If you have any question regarding your possible legal claim and whether or not it may be part of a class action, call Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today. We are a class action law firm, which will thoroughly review your situation and advise you on your legal rights and the best course of action.
Class Actions Are Different from Mass Tort Cases
Class actions are more commonly discussed in the news, yet there is a different type of lawsuit that includes many plaintiffs harmed by the same or similar activities. This other type is called mass tort cases.
During mass torts, many lawsuits are brought together in one or a couple of jurisdictions, enabling a more efficient use of judicial resources. However, there is not one plaintiff or a small group representing a class. Instead, each plaintiff must move forward with their individual cases, prove their injuries, and fight for compensation. A class action is one lawsuit, while a mass tort includes many lawsuits.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Class Action Lawsuits
There are many advantages to a class action lawsuit. They are often based on wrongful actions that do not cause each individual class member a great deal of harm. For example, unfair business practices might only cost each class member $1,000. For most individuals, it is not worth calling a lawyer and pursuing a lawsuit over that amount of money. However, through a class action, one plaintiff and legal team can pursue the legal claim on behalf of every class member, enabling many to not have to put any time, effort, and financial investment into the case.
Also, when there is a small group of representative plaintiffs, it enables them and their legal teams to combine efforts. Instead of one lawyer or firm taking on a case, a team of firms may join together and pool their resources to more effectively obtain evidence and pursue the class action claim. This puts many consumers on a more even playing field with large businesses.
There are disadvantages to class action lawsuits, though. They are not right for every situation. If you are part of a class, then you cannot sue the at-fault party on your own. You are typically stuck with the outcome the representative plaintiff achieves. Also, class action settlements are often large, yet they are not large enough for each class member to receive a significant sum. Many class actions result in each class member receiving a small amount of money, which may not cover their physical, psychological, and/or financial injuries.
You should always speak with a lawyer before you decide to file for a class action. If you are invited to a class and you were seriously injured by the other party’s actions, you should also speak with a class action attorney about whether or not to stay in or opt out of the class.
Let Our Alabama Class Action Lawyers Help You
We have successfully obtained significant jury awards and settlements in class action cases, including a $5 million jury verdict in an environmental contamination lawsuit and $1 million settlement in a separate environmental contamination case. You can see through our track record of success that we will work diligently to obtain you the best possible outcome in your case.
If you believe you may be part of a class action lawsuit or you have been contacted about being part of a class, the best thing for you to do is contact an experienced class action attorney at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. We will review your situation, explain your rights and legal options, and offer you our opinion on your best course of action. If you have discovered a new class action claim and wish to pursue it, then we can guide you through the class action legal process.