Balancing Pros And Cons Of Class Action Lawsuits In California
A class action lawsuit is civil litigation in which one or more named plaintiffs take the lead in suing a defendant, doing so on behalf of a group of people who have suffered similar losses. Because victims often do bear the same impacts when injured by hazardous substances like asbestos, contaminated groundwater, and defective drugs, toxic tort cases often proceed as class actions. California civil procedure rules use the term “permissive joinder,” allowing these cases when there are numerous plaintiffs and it would be impractical to bring each as an individual matter.
One of the key advantages for class actions is efficiency in the judicial system, but it is important to understand how they affect your individual rights. You will have the choice in most cases, and it can be a challenging one. An Oakland toxic torts attorney can advise you on the laws and your options, enabling you to make an informed decision. A look at the pros and cons is also useful.
Pros of Joining a Class Action Lawsuit: Overall, the crucial benefit of being part of a class action is that there is strength in numbers. Toxic tort cases require an exhaustive investigation and often involve highly technical or scientific subject matter. The costs of obtaining critical evidence can be far too much for an individual to bear. Plus:
Lower Costs: Besides the high costs of investigating the toxic tort claim, there are other expenses for preparing the case. A class action will require input from medical experts, as well as other experts in the specific type of toxic tort. Sharing the financial burden across numerous claimants reduces these fees.
Certainty: Many class action cases settle, so you know you will get your qualifying share of the final award.
Consistency: The outcome in a class action affects all members the same, according to their interest in the case. Your result will not be different from someone else across the country, though the exact amount of the award might vary.
Cons of Participating in Class Actions: Even when there is strength in numbers, the downside is that a case covering so many claimants does not address the interests of the individuals. The named plaintiffs are represented by a single firm or law group, and together they make decisions for the class. You do not have a say in many aspects of strategy, and you may not even be consulted about any settlement.
Another unfavorable factor when a toxic tort proceeds as a class action is the timing. These cases take a notoriously long time to resolve, whether by settlement or litigation.
Contact an Oakland Toxic Torts Lawyer for More on Class Action Lawsuits
Many toxic torts cases are class actions, so knowing the basics is helpful. However, you should rely on Venardi Zurada, LLP to advise you on options. For more information, please contact our firm to set up a free consultation. A California toxic torts attorney can meet with you at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek.