Matt and I have heard it all before… ‘Class action suits have huge legal fees’ or ‘Class action suits hurt large employers.’

Don’t be fooled… Class action suits are powerful tools for recovery due to physical injury or financial loss.

Here is how they work: class action lawsuits typically involve large groups of people affected by the same action or product. Individual claims, usually too small to pursue cost-effectively, are combined with other similar claims. This consolidation saves time and money on several aspects of litigation: attorneys, defendants, evidence, witnesses, and the court’s time.

The false and exaggerated claim of ‘class action attorneys taking huge legal fees’ can be a real hot button for me.

Don’t be fooled… In reality, if the lawsuit is successful (winning at trail or settlement) the court determines what attorney fees are awarded after reviewing detailed out-of-pocket costs and hearing from all plaintiffs in the class action. If the case is unsuccessful, the lawyer absorbs the loss, which can be huge amounts of money.

The other fabricated claim that ‘class actions hurt employers’ might be the most disheartening.

Don’t be fooled… We’ve witnessed unethical businesses, which have hurt or defrauded people, attacking the very legal tools which will hold them accountable. Through class actions, their frauds and wrongdoings are identified and stopped.

Here are THREE huge advantages of class action suits:
• They allow a large group of injured parties to receive just compensation, even if their individual claims are relatively small.

• Another advantage of class actions, over individual lawsuits, is that individual suits operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Whereas class actions ensure recovered payments are spread equally across all injured parties.

• Class actions also ensure plaintiffs are represented by an experienced, highly competent attorney, someone they might not have been able to afford on their own.

In the interest of fairness, one significant disadvantage of a class action is… if the plaintiffs lose the lawsuit, they’re typically prohibited from filing individual suits later. This is why it’s important to “opt out” of a class action if you feel that your damages are substantially higher than the rest of the class.

Jim Reeves is a practicing local attorney with an office in east Biloxi and co-host of a popular local TV show on WLOX called LawCall airing Saturday nights.

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