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Know The Class Action Lawsuit And The Public Tort

Know The Class Action Lawsuit And The Public Tort

Public torts and class action lawsuits involve multiple plaintiffs who generally have claims against companies. Understanding the difference is crucial when dealing with corporations and holding them accountable for negligence to a group of plaintiffs with similar damages.

Here is why and what you should know about class action lawsuits and public tort cases.

Class Action Lawsuit

In a class action case, a group of plaintiffs is treated as a group or a ‘class.’ They will share similar injuries and personal injury lawsuits, and will select a few in the group to represent the class. These plaintiffs tend to have more significant roles and responsibilities than other plaintiffs in the class.

Most commonly, class action lawsuits are used to submit product liability claims and other civil actions. Here are other unique features of class action lawsuits.

Specific criteria must be met to establish a class action case

State class action procedures establish four requirements for establishing these cases.

  1. The class must be so large that the accumulation of all the members is impractical. 
  2. The class must share issues of fact or law
  3. The class representatives must reflect the class’ grievances. 

Potential class members must be informed of the case

Usually, this is done in the early stages of a case, as the class action lawsuit is forming. Notifications should be sent to prospective class members explaining that they have the opportunity to join or opt out of the lawsuit. These notices should also explain how to take action for any of the options while highlighting the timelines.

The class is treated as an individual and collective plaintiff

In the successful case, the class will split the compensation, either a jury sentence or a settlement. Depending on the claim and the case, this can result in lower amounts of compensation for each individual in the class than other types of claims. However, class actions can be a workable option for a group of injured individuals when it is not lucrative for each plaintiff to hire their lawyer and litigate an individual claim.

Public Tort

Class action lawsuits are essentially a type of public tort. Complex and made up of multiple plaintiffs, public torts outside of class actions treat plaintiffs as individuals, not as a ‘class.’ This implies that the plaintiffs in these torts must individually establish the injuries and other facts.

In terms of product liability litigation, some public torts include those involving dangerous drugs, defective products, asbestos exposure, and birth defects. Look at some unique characteristics of public torts:

Torts can end as multidistrict litigation (MDL)

With multidistrict litigation, plaintiffs make similar claims. The purpose is to consolidate the cases in a single court before a single judge. That can ease the burden of similar lawsuits clogging courts (in some cases across the country) and draining resources. You can also ensure that:

  1. The same resolutions apply to similar claims.
  2. Plaintiffs can gather and share evidence, streamlining the discovery and pre-trial processes.
  3. Litigation can be more streamlined overall, compared to individual lawsuits in its early stages.

Plaintiffs can take their individual cases to trial

Not tied to a ‘class,’ plaintiffs in public torts can have their day in court and take their case to trial if they choose to do so. Indeed, they have this option, regardless of what the other plaintiffs involved in the tort decide to do. This freedom of choice is exclusive. All plaintiffs in class action cases are bound by the class representatives’ and solicitors’ decisions.

Plaintiffs can reach their own agreements

Just as plaintiffs in public torts can take their cases to trial independently, they can also settle their cases separately. It can be done at any time before or during the trial, as long as the jury has not yet rendered a verdict. This option may be significant when the plaintiffs’ demands are slightly different and/or when larger groups of plaintiffs have different needs and goals.

How can you acquire more information about a possible claim?

Talk to Personal Injury Solicitors in Aberdeen to find out if you have a class action lawsuit or public tort case. You may have numerous options for how to proceed with a claim. And the decision you make up can make a big difference in resolution and possibly your recovery. Contact HD Claims to find an experienced personal injury solicitor for a free and confidential consultation.

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