What do you do when you receive an invitation to join a class suit? You need to evaluate whether to opt in or out of the class action. Answering these four questions will help you do that:
What Is the Class Action For?
The first thing is to find out further details on the class action lawsuit. Class actions are usually instigated for injuries or losses affecting a large number of people, so finding more about your case shouldn't be too difficult. For example, if it concerns alleged injuries from defective pharmaceutical products, confirm that you used the product in question, and it caused you harm. In many cases, the information may already be available online or in public news outlets (such as local newspapers). Use the information to decide if you are interested in pursuing the case.
Are You Better Off With an Individual Claim?
Once you understand the injuries the class action is dealing with, evaluate whether you are better off making a personal injury claim against the liable parties. It's best to make this decision after speaking to a personal injury lawyer. It may be best to pursue an individual claim if your losses are more significant than other members of the class.
A good example is if a defective drug has left you with a permanent disability, such as blindness while all other members of the class recovered from their injuries. That would entitle you to more benefits than other members of the class, which you may not get if you join the class action.
What Do You Stand To Gain?
Monetary awards aren't the only reliefs courts give in class actions. In some cases, the court may give an injunctive relief, which is an order to stop doing a negative act or start doing a positive act. Another possible relief is a declaratory judgment, which confirms the rights of the plaintiffs (members of the class) that the defendant had denied them. Courts usually give such forms of reliefs to plaintiffs who haven't suffered significant monetary losses. It may not make much sense to join a class action if you aren't interested in the type of relief other members of the class wish to pursue.
What Can You Lose By Joining?
Lastly, it's also good to consider the cons of joining the class action; they do have their disadvantages. For example, unless you are the representative plaintiff, you aren't likely to be part of the decision-making processes. Also, in many cases, you lose the right to pursue an individual claim if the class action fails. It may not be a good idea to join the class action if those potential losses seem too significant for you.