Class action lawsuits are distinctly different from personal injury. Almost everybody knows what a personal injury case is. Someone is hurt due to someone else’s negligence. Or, they’re hurt intentionally by somebody else. Many personal injury lawsuits are the result of a car accident, slip, and fall or a premises’ liability case. There is one plaintiff and there is usually only one defendant.
Many personal injury lawsuits are filed against the defendant’s insurance company. They either decide to pay the claim or fight it. They are required to defend their insured in any legal action filed against them. This means that your Arkansas personal injury lawyer is going to focus on settling the case with the insurance company.
When it comes to class action, it is a whole different story. These cases involve numerous plaintiffs. In fact, many class actions involve hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs. All of these plaintiffs suffer injuries at the hand of the same defendant. Usually, these injuries are similar. For example, if thousands of patients take the same medication and get sick, they would file a class action lawsuit.
Why File a Class Action Instead of a Personal Injury Suit?
There are several reasons why an attorney would choose to file a class action instead of a personal injury lawsuit. It makes sense for a lawyer to combine cases if the plaintiffs are suing the same defendant for the same kinds of injuries. The courts also prefer this kind of suit when there are multiple defendants. It makes more sense for the attorneys to argue the case once rather than hundreds or thousands of times. Finally, it is fairer to the defendants to defend one large class action than thousands of individual lawsuits.
A defendant in any lawsuit must pay their attorney an hourly rate for their defense. They also need to pay experts. The courts would rather a potential defendant use this money to pay out qualified plaintiffs. It also would bankrupt many companies if they had to pay attorney fees for each separate plaintiff.
How is the Money Paid to Plaintiffs in the Different Types of Cases?
If you’re the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, it isn’t hard to determine how your damages will be paid out. The first person who gets paid is your Arkansas personal injury attorney. They get their contingency fee first. So, if your attorney is getting 40% of your damages, this comes off the top. Consider that you settle for $500,000. Your attorney will get $200,000. After that, you need to pay things like medical bills and any other outstanding money owed as a result of your accident.
With a class action, it works quite differently. Once the case is settled, the courts and your Arkansas class action lawyer will decide how the money is to be divided. As with a personal injury case, the attorneys take their fee first. The remainder of the settlement is going to be divided amongst all of the plaintiffs included in the class action. The amount of money each plaintiff receives depends on several factors, including:
- Seriousness of injuries
- Amount of evidence showing that they were injured
Some plaintiffs are going to receive more than others. Some may not feel that they got as much as they deserved. This is simply the way it is with a class action. Trust that your Arkansas class action attorney is going to do their best to get you as much money as possible.
How Long Does It Take for a Class Action Case to Settle?
What a lot of people don’t realize is that almost all personal injury lawsuits settle long before trial. The same is true for class action lawsuits. However, these cases take a bit longer to settle than other personal injury cases. Part of this is because there are so many plaintiffs. The court isn’t just determining who is at fault. They also have to figure out how much each plaintiff deserved. This takes time. And, once the settlement check is cut, the attorneys need to make sure all outstanding liens and medical bills are paid.
If you feel that you or your loved one have a claim for damages, you need to call and talk to one of our class action lawyers as soon as possible. Contact our office and schedule a free initial consultation. Sit down with someone who can answer all of your questions and get the process started for you.