If you have been invited to join a class action, you should know the disadvantages of such a move before opting in. Here are some of the complications you may face in the class action:
You Won't Be Able to Make the Important Decisions
One of the benefits of pursuing a personal injury case on your own is that you get to decide what to do at every stage of the process; not even your legal representative has that authority. You can decide when to accept a settlement, when to drop a case, or even whether an appeal is warranted. Unfortunately, you will lose this right by joining a class action lawsuit. The representatives of the class make all the important decisions; don't be surprised if they accept a settlement that looks obviously low to you.
It's Almost Always About the Money
Most people pursue civil litigation for monetary compensation. However, money isn't the only reason you may decide to sue a party who has caused you injury. For example, if a manufacturing company is guilty of environmental compensation, you may wish to see it forced to use a portion of its profits for causes that benefit the environment. However, you may not realize that wish in a class action where the wishes of the majority rule, and the majority may just be interested in how much money they can pocket from the lawsuit.
They Drag Out for a Long Time
Class actions tend to be more complex than standard personal injury lawsuits. For example, members of the class may need to communicate with the attorney and representatives of the class have to confer and agree before giving their attorney the authority to proceed with a major decision. The discovery process of a class action may also take longer than a typical discovery process. What all these means is that your class action is likely to take longer than an individual injury lawsuit.
You Lose the Right for an Individual Lawsuit
Lastly, you should also know that you lose the right to file an individual lawsuit once you have participated in a class action involving the same issue. Some people think they can "appeal" the outcome of a class action case if it doesn't suit them, but that isn't how they work. Even if you were expecting considerable compensation and end up with peanuts, you will have to be satisfied with it.
Now you know why a class action isn't all it's glorified to be. Sure, it does have its advantages; for example, it allows you to participate in a case without getting too involved in its day-to-day processes. However, you should know both sides of the coin so that you can make an informed decision before proceeding.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Velde Moore Limited.