If you’ve been harmed or suffered losses because of the actions of a corporation or institution, you may have the basis for a class action lawsuit. Our Illinois class action lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC have significant experience in handling class action claims and helping people to recover compensation when they’ve been the victim of wrongdoing by a corporation or other large organization.
You may feel like you have little recourse against the power of a corporation, institution, or large group, but a class action claim can help hold an organization accountable for its actions — as well as prompting changes to practices or policies. A class action claim is one way that the “little guy” can have a voice and be heard in a system that can feel overwhelming and, at times, futile.
Our lawyers have litigated many class action claims and can discuss whether your case might be appropriate as a class action, explain the process and purpose of class action cases, and help you decide on the best path for recovering compensation for your losses.
Contact The Cates Law Firm, LLC today at 618-277-3644, or use our online contact form, to schedule an appointment with our lawyers. We offer a free consultation and charge no upfront fees, so there’s no risk in talking to us about your options.
What are Class Action Claims?
At its most basic terms, a class action claim is a type of case that allows one person, or a small group of people, to file a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group of people who all suffered the same harm, known as the “class.”
Class action claims often are pursued by people who have been the victim of harm caused by:
- Corporate fraud or securities fraud
- Defective products
- Environmental disasters or exposures to toxic substances, such as asbestos
- Fraudulent medical billing
- Price fixing
- Unfair or deceptive business practices, such as false advertising
- Unlawful debt collection practices
- Violations of law or statutes
These types of cases are often pursued in federal courts, because they affect people living in multiple jurisdictions or all across the country. Class action cases are governed by very specific laws and rules, so it’s important when pursuing this type of case that you’re represented by an experienced class action lawyer.
Who Can Participate in a Class Action?
It’s up to a court to decide whether a group of people constitutes a class for purposes of litigation. This is a process known as “certifying the class.” Before a court will certify the class, it must be determined pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that:
- The plaintiffs are too numerous to make it feasible for them to file individual lawsuits or to be individually named as parties
- The potential plaintiffs have the same factual and/or legal issues in common
- The claims of the party or parties bringing the lawsuit are typical of members of the class
- The interests of the members of the class will be fairly and adequately protected by the party or parties bringing the lawsuit
Compensation in Class Action Claims
Because there are many different types of harm that might form the basis of a class action claim, the amount and form of compensation will vary depending on the facts and laws involved in your case, as well as whether the case is settled or goes to trial.
Depending on the type of case, everyone who is determined to be part of the class or certified as a class member may be bound by any settlement or verdict in the case and may be barred from filing a lawsuit on their own. The only option to avoid being bound by any class action settlement is to opt out of the class and take appropriate steps with the court to do so. However, the existence of the class action case also means that individuals don’t have to pursue litigation on their own in order to get compensated.
At some point in your life, you may have received a letter in the mail or a small settlement check because you were part of a class of people harmed by a company’s actions. In many of these situations, you weren’t even aware you were a class member or overlooked the notice you may have received in the mail. These cases are going on across the country, and you may have a potential case too.
If you believe your case could be a class action case, our lawyers can review your claims and explain the process.
Reasons for Class Action Litigation
A class action case may start with one person who is harmed in some way through wrongdoing, often by a company. In the course of investigating that individual’s complaint, an attorney may uncover that numerous people suffered the same kind of harm caused by the same actions or behavior.
For example, one person might look at their credit card bills and see that they were charged numerous late fees when they shouldn’t have been. They’re unsuccessful in resolving the problem directly with the credit card company, so they go speak with a lawyer about their legal options for recovering the overcharges. The lawyer discovers that thousands of people were subject to the same erroneous charges and the company may owe millions in reimbursements to all the affected individuals.
When something like this happens, instead of having thousands of separate lawsuits all about the same issue, the legal system allows those cases to be pursued as one case — a class action lawsuit. In part, the intent is to avoid tying up the court system with many cases that involve the same facts and same legal principles and would, theoretically, come to the same outcome.
However, there also are ways that class action litigation is intended to benefit the people who were harmed.
- They can minimize legal fees by sharing an attorney or team of attorneys to pursue their case instead of each individual hiring their own attorney.
- By making a claim as a group, individuals can share resources to even the playing field when going up against the vast power and financial resources of a large corporation or institution.
- They don’t have to prove their cases separately, but instead only have to prove their case once for everyone who is part of the group of people harmed.
Illinois Class Action Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Provide Dedicated Counsel
Class action cases involve a lot of legal complexity and many questions that must be considered before a case is filed. Because the lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC have participated in numerous class action cases, we have a thorough understanding of how these cases work, the laws involved, and the process.
We also understand that when you’ve been harmed or suffered financial losses because of a company’s actions, it can have a dramatic effect on your life. You may feel like the proverbial David facing off against an impossible Goliath, but you don’t have to stand alone. We’ll fight beside you to get the best possible outcome for your case because we know that it not only affects you, but also countless other people with similar stories. We’re dedicated to obtaining justice for you and everyone else who was harmed.
Contact The Cates Law Firm, LLC at 618-277-3644 or online for your free consultation to learn your legal options today. We serve individuals and families across Southern Illinois and the Metro East region, from St. Louis to the Indiana border, including the communities of Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.