Posted in:

What Is a Class Action Lawsuit — and How Can You Join One? 

© by Unsplash

In short, a class action lawsuit is a type of legal procedure. It happens when a large group of people band together to sue a common defendant. So, it is essentially a collective court action.

Class-action lawsuits typically occur in situations where many individuals have suffered the same or similar harm. For example, multiple consumers could be affected by faulty products from the same manufacturer.

Let us take a closer look at what a class action lawsuit is and how you can join one if you need to.

Examples of Class Action Lawsuits

There are multiple categories of class action lawsuits

Consumer class actions are perhaps the most well-known type. These usually happen when companies sell defective products or employ misleading advertising. If a malfunctioning mobile device, for example, causes harm to a group of consumers, those affected might bring about a class action lawsuit.

Another type is securities class action lawsuits. These occur when investors suffer financial losses due to fraudulent behaviors of corporations or their executives.

Employment class actions represent yet another category. They are filed by employees against employers for reasons related to things like unfair wages, discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination.

Although less common, there are also environmental and mass torts class actions, which address issues involving large-scale health hazards like toxic spills or unsafe pharmaceuticals causing widespread injury or illness in communities.

Why do people choose to pursue class action lawsuits?

The main advantage of this type of lawsuit is efficiency. Instead of each individual going through the complex legal process on their own, they can join forces.

Class action lawsuits lead to more streamlined proceedings and typically yield more significant results.

The Legal Proceedings

In terms of legal proceedings, one or several representatives appear in court for the group.

These representatives act on behalf of everyone impacted —those who are often referred to as the “class.”

Opting Out

It is important to note that class members usually have the right to opt out.

That means, if they consider their individual claims are more substantial, they may wish to pursue separate legal action independently.

The Outcome

If the lawsuit is successful, every member of the class stands to receive compensation.

However, keep in mind that the compensation type and amount can vary greatly. It largely depends on the nature of the case and the specific outcome.

How can you join a class action lawsuit?

You can join a class action lawsuit when you find a case that is relevant to your situation. That usually means you have suffered the same type of harm as the other individuals involved in the case.

Often, if you are part of the relevant class impacted by the issue under litigation, you might receive a notice by mail or email informing you about the lawsuit. The notice would typically explain how you can participate.

If you do not receive any notice but believe that your rights were affected in a similar way to an ongoing class action, conduct some online research.

Government websites and legal news platforms often publish information about prominent class action suits. For instance, you can discover all the latest class action and mass tort lawsuit news at

Staying educated on the latest news could grant you a head start when seeking restitution for harms suffered due to negligent corporations or individuals.

Once you have identified a relevant lawsuit, it is time to contact a lawyer who is conducting the class action proceeding.

Keep in mind that every class action is unique and rules may vary depending on myriad factors, such as jurisdictional laws or specifics relating to the class definitions stipulated by courts overseeing these collective forms of litigation.

By contacting a lawyer, you can better understand the case, your rights, and the course of action to take.

The Takeaway

Hopefully, you will never be harmed by something like a defective product or unsafe pharmaceuticals. But if you are, you now have a good understanding of how a class action lawsuit works and how you can join one.