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What is a class-action lawsuit, and how does it work?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Business Litigation |

Many different types of lawsuits are filed in Washington. One of them is a class-action lawsuit. You might have heard about this type of case before but may not be familiar with it.

Understanding class-action lawsuits

A class-action lawsuit is a civil litigation initiated by one person or entity on behalf of multiple people or businesses. When such a lawsuit is started, it is due to injuries that the plaintiffs have collectively suffered as a result of the defendant’s conduct. Usually, when a class-action suit is brought about, other people who have been or might have been affected are notified and permitted to join in.

Class-action lawsuits can be brought to federal or state court.

Multiple plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit are often easier for all parties. Instead of many people filing individual lawsuits, the class action can address all affected plaintiffs at once. This also makes things cheaper and more practical for the court.

Although class-action lawsuits make things easier for all involved parties, they can take a longer time to settle than other types of claims. Depending on the nature of the case, some plaintiffs might receive a rebate instead of a monetary settlement.

Types of class-action lawsuits

Class-action lawsuits often involve product liability cases, consumer harms and employment issues. With product liability, if a defective product is known to cause harm to users in spite of the product being used correctly, the victims have a right to file a lawsuit.

Consumers who are harmed by fraudulent business practices may be entitled to file class-action lawsuits to recover damages. Employees who have suffered discrimination, wage and hour issues and other unfair treatment by their employer can bring about a class-action lawsuit rather than business litigation to hold the employer liable.

Class-action lawsuits happen all the time. They are often preferred due to being more convenient.