Transcript: I’m attorney Behram Parekh. We’re often asked, “How is a class action different from a regular lawsuit?”
In a class action, one or more people bring a lawsuit as representatives of everyone else who has had the same thing happen to them. Class actions are useful when the money lost by any one person is not enough for them to be able to hire a lawyer to get it back. If, however, a lawyer is able to get money back to everyone who is in the same situation as the representative, then the lawsuit becomes possible because the lawyer can be paid form the total amount recovered from all the people who had the same thing happen to them instead of having to be paid from the recovery of just one person.
Class actions are also useful when someone wants to stop a company from doing the same bad thing – not just to them, but to other people as well. Through a class action, lawyers can get courts to force companies to not just give money back to the people who they wronged, but to stop them from engaging in future bad behavior.
If you think a company lied to you, sold you something that was defective, or engaged in wrongful behavior, and you think it also did that same thing towards other people, you should look into whether filing a class action case is the best way to fix that behavior.