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How Do I Decide Whether to Opt In or Opt Out of a Case?

A class action lawsuit is a useful legal tool that allows a group of people who have suffered similar injuries to sue one defendant at the same time. While there are many advantages to joining a class action, there are potential downsides as well. This article provides several factors for you to consider when deciding whether to opt in or opt out of a class action lawsuit.

Class Action Lawsuits

A class action is a lawsuit where a group of people who were injured in a similar way come together to sue the defendant as a group. In most class actions, people who could be affected by the outcome of the case are automatically joined as a class member. For example, if there is a class action against a manufacturer for producing a defective transvaginal mesh, everyone who has been injured by that mesh will be notified about the class action and automatically included as a class member. After you receive notification, you can decide whether you want to participate as a class member or opt out of the lawsuit.

Opting In

One of the advantages of joining a class action is that every member will receive some compensation if the class wins the lawsuit. This is beneficial because if the individual members decide to sue the manufacturer on their own, the manufacturer may run out of money before each individual has been compensated. Another advantage is that the class shares the legal expenses, so the cost of litigation is reduced.

On the other hand, a chosen class representative makes all the important litigation decisions on behalf of the class. This person represents the interests of the group and decides when to settle the case. As a result, most class members don’t have control over the outcome of the case. Further, if you join a class action and the class is unsuccessful, you won’t be able to bring a second lawsuit against the manufacturer for the same issues that were argued in the class action.

Opting Out

An advantage of opting out of a class action is that you won’t be bound by the outcome of the class action lawsuit. This means that you’ll still be allowed to sue the manufacturer for the same issues that were brought up in the class action.

Another advantage of opting out is that you may be able to recover more damages on your own than you would have as a class member. If the class wins, all members who participated in the lawsuit will receive some compensation, but it might not be enough to cover their injuries. On the other hand, if you succeed in an individual suit, damages will be awarded based on your actual injuries, meaning there’s a better chance that your compensation will adequately cover your expenses.

However, there are circumstances where opting out could hurt your chances of recovery. For example, if the class action is successful, the manufacturer could go bankrupt after it compensates the class. If the manufacturer runs out of money before your case is litigated, you probably won’t be able to recover any damages.