Birmingham Class Action Lawsuit Attorneys
If you have any reason to suspect that many people were impacted the same way you were, get a class action lawyer. Birmingham Class action lawsuit attorneys help people every day uncover injustice in workplaces and disasters from manufacturers.
A class action lawyer can be the way to show that the issue you faced was not a lone event. Carefully choose the right lawyer for you. They can help you through the legal process and take account for many factors.
- 1 Class Action Lawsuits
- 2 What You Should Know About Class Action Law Suits
- 3 Different Types of Class Action Lawsuits
- 4 How to Start a Birmingham Class Action Lawsuit
- 5 Settlement Claims and Payment
- 6 Finding A Great Class Action Attorney
- 7 What A Class Action Lawyer Should Do For You
- 8 Hire A Class Action Attorney Today
Class Action Lawsuits
What is a Birmingham class action lawsuit, and what is the point? The clearest way to explain a class action case is that it is when many people come together with one lawsuit. The group of people is the “class,” and one or two plaintiffs usually lead the class making choices in their best interest.
Many people question why anyone would want to start a class action case. Usually, the thinking is that anyone else who had the same issue should file their own suit. That type of thinking is not wrong. It is how most cases go through the court system.
But it is vital to see how both the plaintiff group, and the defendant benefit. Not that many people care, but the defendant can pay more in court fees and legal expenses with many small cases. That is not money that any plaintiff would have received.
A plaintiff group will usually benefit from a higher payout. Class action lawyers will often push for higher settlement amounts, and in many cases, they win very large awards. Fraud and scandal cases like Enron and Volkswagon resulted in settlements in the billions of dollars.
It is not every day that companies make huge payouts. But, a small case of one person against Volkswagon for their “cheater” diesel would probably not have paid out anything at all. The average settlement ranges from a few dollars per person to a few thousand per person.
Why is the window so big? Size defines the case. Meaning that if thousands of people are part of the suing class, even a large settlement won’t give anyone a huge payday. But in cases of even a moderate settlement where the class is a hundred people or less, there is a substantial check per person.
What You Should Know About Class Action Law Suits
There are a few primary things that people should know before they jump into a class action suit.
First, hardly ever do cases pay out tens of thousands of dollars to any one person. Second, lawyers will often take a contingency payment. Third, the lawsuit and payment period can take a very long time. Finally, take the money.
Most people when they participate in a class action have to do little more than waiting and cash a check. There is a bit more work in it if you are starting the case, but lawyers take care of nearly everything.
You might not expect thousands of dollars, and you might have to wait for months, but it’s still money that you were owed.
In most cases, if you do not take the money and the case goes through, your portion will go to another person within the class. In some cases, the plaintiffs behind the case will choose a charity for unclaimed payouts.
Different Types of Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits include any lawsuit that has impacted a large group of people. So when it comes to setting clear lines around what is or is not within this specialty, it is hard. Unlike other forms of the law such as personal injury, nearly anything can become a class action case.
The most common cases are these areas of the law:
- Employment law
- Securities and fraud
- Product manufacturing
- Consumer protection
Most cases fall into one of these segments, but there are many other situations out there that are less restrictive. Each of these areas of the law come with their own set of “normal” expectations from the defendant.
Everything from mismanaged payroll to unsafe working conditions. Employment law covers a lot of ground.
The most common reasons for a class action suit under employment law issues are:
- Unpaid Wages
- Discrimination for promotions/pay/hiring
- Unfair practices
- OSHA violations
- Unsafe or unlawful working conditions
Unpaid wages, discrimination and unfair practices are hardly ever one-time instances. A 21 can help you show that the results of these issues were part of company policy or culture.
When it comes to OSHA violations or unsafe workspaces, a class action is your best bet. Companies will often try to provide low settlements offers to get out of the chance of a class suit.
An example of unsafe and unlawful work conditions is a trucking company that tells drivers to keep multiple log books. Even with a policy in place stating that they don’t do that, of it is within the culture and expectations you may have a case.
Securities and fraud
Securities and fraud seem like the stuff of exciting legal thrillers or courtroom dramas. The thing is that these are very real situations. Fraud and misrepresentation impact thousands of people.
Securities and similar fraud usually take place through a stock transaction or investment. It could be the work of a shady broker or a scam. The umbrella term for these cases is usually investment fraud.
Investment fraud includes things like market manipulation, insider trading, and Ponzi schemes. While those all seem quite scandalous, there is the more common situation of financial statement fraud or altering material facts in financial documents.
Defective or outright dangerous products pose a major threat to the public. Product lawsuits can range from cars to toys and everything in between too. A famous case is General Motor’s use of a damaging chemical in their preferred coolant. Another well-known case is the 1998 Asbestos case.
These cases often impact hundreds of thousands of people. Usually, the resolution goes further than a payout. Resolutions in these cases often come with a huge recall, and changes to manufacturing specifications.
False advertising and outright fraud aren’t unheard of in class action cases. These cases require a strong command of both business law and acumen. Companies have an obligation to a level of consumer safety.
One famous case argued that a tobacco company failed to delivery proper warning over the possibility of lung cancer. The expectation of consumer safety has led to warning labels on everything from cigars to plastic packaging materials. In fact, nearly everything now has a BPA warning label. These changes come from major consumer protection lawsuits.
How to Start a Birmingham Class Action Lawsuit
It’s no simple matter, but there are specific steps you need to take to get things started. You may or may not have been the first person to come forward. But either way, you may be the first person to try to resolve the issue legally.
Cause of Action
A class action always relies on a cause of action. Such as product liability, unfair practices or discrimination. The cause of action should be general enough to involve everyone affected. But also, specific enough to show the defendant was at fault.
Identify Other Possible Plaintiffs
A lawyer is a huge help in identifying and contacting other potential plaintiffs. For cases against employers, it may be as easy as contacting your coworkers and former staff. However, for cases against a manufacturer, it may require advertising and proof of purchase or use.
Lawyers should know the best way to reach other plaintiffs. It may be through commercial advertising, mail or even on the radio.
Satisfy Basic Prerequisites
A class action case isn’t a class action until it meets some basic criteria. A case must have so many plaintiffs that it would not be reasonable to separate them into single cases. It must also have common legal issues that apply to all the plaintiffs. The class must contain at least one person with a case that encompasses all of the claims. Finally, one person, or in some cases two, must represent the best interest of the whole class.
Filing the Case
If you haven’t yet, you need to find a lawyer. If you choose to file the suit, you will need to determine the value of your claim and start gathering resources.
An attorney will help you understand if it is best for you to file a case on your own or as a class. They will also help you set a realistic settlement or compensation goal. During the filing step, you will also need to choose whether you will be the lead plaintiff.
Just because you led the charge in hiring an attorney, you may not be the right person. In many cases, people do not have time or do not want to take the job of making decisions for everyone.
A lead plaintiff will need to work closely with the lawyers and will ultimately accept or reject a settlement. Afterward, your lawyer will file the complaint.
A complaint is the first formal document in the class action process. The complaint will explain that the defendant did something wrong, or acted in a way that caused harm. Usually, the complaint will not include a goal settlement amount. But, it should include a general value of the damage done.
Certifying the Class
Getting the class certified means that a judge will review the basic facts of the case, the scope, and size of the class and the lawyers involved. They will then make a decision on whether the case will be a class action.
Appointing the Class Counsel
Although you hired your lawyer to take on the case, the courts need to decide if your lawyer is ready to handle the case. Essentially you need to prove to the judge that your lawyer has done a lot of work on the case already.
A judge will look for knowledge, experience, and the resources available to decide if they can keep the case. This step is to ensure that one person is not making a closed-minded decision that will cause further harm to the class.
Your lawyer must initiate contact with all possible class members. That means a lot of research and managing large scale communications. It might be that your case only includes employees through specific years. However, those people could have quit and moved across the country in only a few months time.
Everyone possibly impacted must be contacted and given the chance to “opt-out” of the case. Lawyers will rely on purchase records, sales slips, human resources info and more to make this attempt.
Settlement and Lawsuit
Most class action lawsuits resolve through a settlement and never see a courtroom. Usually, a company is willing to pay out a substantial settlement to avoid a public scene.
A settlement will require mediation, working with your lawyer and determining what the other legal team is willing to do. There are many cases when a company believes that they can win or get a smaller compensation value through proceeding to court.
If your case goes to court, it will often involve expert testimony and thorough research into the amount of damage. If the defense does not get what they want at the end of the case, they can file an appeal. This process can take years.
Settlement Claims and Payment
As previously mentioned, whether or not you will see any payout depends on many different factors. When it comes to settlement claims the courts will decide how much is awarded to the plaintiffs.
Class action lawyers almost always work on contingency at as high as 40% of the award. Meaning that if you have a 10 million dollar award, 4 million of that will go to your legal team. The remaining 6 million would be split among the class.
Class awards can take huge numbers and make them seem very small when it comes down to what each person gets. Taking the chance and filing a class case though is worth every bit.
Finding A Great Class Action Attorney
When you’re looking for the best lawyer for you, it can seem overwhelming. There are so many options, and they all seem to say the same thing. Don’t worry. It is easy to find a great attorney.
There are a few key qualities to look for in class action attorneys:
- Experience facing companies
- Experience handling time-consuming cases
- History of settlements or high payouts
- Availability to resources such as expert witnesses
Confidence and charisma seem like small things to ask from a lawyer. The truth is though that in class action cases, these lawyers must stand up against a team of defense attorneys. They are often debating against experts and exposing the inner workings of a company.
Experience in working opposite to companies and having the confidence to present their case is critical. A lawyer should also have the drive to use their resources for you. Finding an expert witness to support your claims. Or, arguing that
What A Class Action Lawyer Should Do For You
People seeking a class action lawsuit often have other issues on their plate. Things such as lost pay from issues with an employer. In some cases like manufacturer defect, or negligence you may need recovery time.
A common impact for most victims in a class action case is a financial hardship, and in many cases, there is injury as well. The strain of injury and the struggle of bills piling up can make your lawsuit seem like a small concern.
The best way to move forward is to focus on your health and financial stability while letting a lawyer handle the rest.
A class action lawyer should:
- Advise you on the best-case scenario
- Help you decide between participating in a class action or seeking a solo case
- Set a realistic timeline
- Aim for a settlement or compensation payout that benefits everyone in the case
- Provide access to resources that are otherwise unavailable
A class action lawyer will often work on contingency, meaning that they only take a percentage of the final award. This setup makes it reasonable for anyone to start a class action case. Hire a lawyer so you can focus on the other things that matter in your life.
Your lawyer should do everything from collect the files, and identify other victims. They should also file the suit with the court, negotiate settlements, and seek out expert witnesses.
Hire A Class Action Attorney Today
You are not alone, and many other people impacted in a similar way can help you with your case. Building or participating in a class action lawsuit can be a difficult task.
Not only are there many moving parts, and unique requirements, there’s the issue of facing a team of high-powered attorneys. The sheer size of class action cases draws in many lawyers rushing to the defense.
Opposition lawyers, such as class action attorneys that put the general public and workforce first are harder to find. At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, you can find reliable, knowledgeable and resourceful legal guidance.
Contact our Birmingham attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton for help with your case today. Whether you’re standing up against a big company, an employer or your insurance carrier, you will need help.
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