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Frequently Asked Questions About Class Actions

Q: How is a class action lawsuit different from a regular lawsuit?

A: A class action lawsuit is a legal action brought by a group of people who suffered the same or similar injury caused by the same product or conduct of a defendant. The funds from a class action are divided among the plaintiffs based on the extent of each plaintiff's injuries.

Q: Can every lawsuit become a class action?

A: No. Class actions are appropriate only in situations where plaintiffs have sustained the same or similar injuries caused by the same product or actions. Class actions are not appropriate in situations where each plaintiff's injury involves unique facts.

Q: Can I join multiple class action lawsuits regarding the same thing?

A: No. You can sue a defendant only once arising out of a single injury or set of facts. If multiple class actions are brought against a defendant, they will be consolidated.

Q: What is "opting out" of a class action?

A: There are situations in which it is appropriate for a person to choose not to be part of a class action, or to "opt out." This is appropriate when your injury is different or more severe than the rest of the class action plaintiffs.

Q: What is a head plaintiff?

A: The named plaintiff in a class action case is often the plaintiff who initially filed the lawsuit. The named plaintiff's injuries must be representative of all class members and a judge must approve the appointment. Once appointed, a lead plaintiff appears at court and pretrial conferences, similar to a plaintiff in an individual lawsuit. The increased effort of a lead plaintiff is usually rewarded with an "incentive award" payment.

Q: What is multidistrict litigation?

A: Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a procedure in which similar individual cases filed in different districts are transferred to a single federal judge. Although many class actions are litigated in MDL proceedings, not all MDL proceedings involve class actions.

Q: Does joining a class action mean I will get more money?

A: Not necessarily. The positive part of a class action is that all plaintiffs will receive something if the class action is successful. Individual lawsuits may result in higher payouts, but payments are on a first-come, first-serve basis and a defendant may be bankrupt before the case is resolved.

Contact Our Nationwide Class Action Litigation Law Firm

The Independence, Missouri, lawyers at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, P.C., have represented class action members across the country. Individuals who have been harmed by a product that may provide the basis for a class action should contact our firm online or call 888-353-0491 to arrange a free initial consultation.

More Information About Class Actions:

Frequently Asked Questions About Class Actions
The Role of Lead or Named Plaintiff in a Class Action
Procedures in Securities Class Action Lawsuits
Have Others Experienced the Same Side Effects as I Have?
Why Should I Join a Class Action Lawsuit?

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