Understanding the Difference Between Class Action vs. Individual Lawsuits


Understanding the Difference Between Class Action vs. Individual Lawsuits


There is a huge difference between a class action and individual lawsuits. That is why before you decide what type of lawsuit would be the most appropriate for your claims, it is crucial to have a good understanding of their major differences. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of your options.


Who are the Parties Involved?

The number of parties involved is a key difference between a class action and an individual lawsuit. In a class action lawsuit, a group of individuals file a complaint against a company or organization. They all have suffered similar harm or injuries. And collectively, they decide to bring a legal action against one or more defendants.


Individual lawsuits on the other hand involve the plaintiff(s) where they bring a legal action against one or more defendants. Unlike in class action, each plaintiff for an individual lawsuit pursues their claim independently. The outcome does not affect other complainants.


Difference in Scope of Representation

A class action is usually made up of a group of individuals who all have similar claims against the defendant. The main plaintiffs and their lawyers from a trusted law firm represent the class. And any court ruling or settlement will affect everyone in the class. For individual lawsuits, the plaintiff looks out for their claim and interests. The action will only affect the plaintiff(s) so others who have the same complaint must file their cases individually. To get such informational sources you can always depend on ConsumerShield, where you can analyze and plan your actions.


Pros and Cons of Individual Claims

Individual lawsuits are the most straightforward option. The process of filing to resolution is often faster. However, legal proceedings can be a bit pricey. The costs of filing, hiring a lawyer, and securing an expert witness will all be shouldered by the individual plaintiff. That is why if the amount of injury damages is minimal, it might not be practical to pursue an individual claim.


Pros and Cons of Class Action Lawsuits

In a class action lawsuit, you can combine claims with other complainants and expect a larger compensation. The fees will be lesser since they will be shared by all parties involved. This is the best option if you require skilled expert witnesses. The downfall is that whatever is settled will be shared by all complainants unless they opt out. Also, class actions may take longer to settle compared to individual lawsuits. 


Understanding Potential Outcomes

Any judgment or settlement in class action cases applies to all class members unless they choose to opt-out. Settlements need court approval to ensure that everyone involved receives fair and adequate compensation. An individual lawsuit’s outcome on the other hand affects solely the plaintiff(s). In this case, the lawsuit parties negotiate settlements directly.


Class Action vs. Individual Lawsuit: Which is Right for You?

Class action and individual litigation differ in a lot of aspects. Class actions are good for addressing common concerns that impact a large number of people. Individual lawsuits on the other hand let plaintiffs pursue their claims against the defendant. If you are not sure which to choose, determine whether to file a class action or individual case depending on your situation.