Who Gets the Most Money in a Class Action Lawsuit?

class action lawsuit

A class action attorney handles cases that are called class action lawsuits. These lawsuits are both complicated and unique, as they involve a group or class of litigants. The lead plaintiffs in the case make the most money, as they have been most affected by the claim. Attorneys receive a percentage of the settlement – an amount that the court determines as reasonable.

A class action attorney may bring the case to either a state or federal court to proceed with the class action. To move ahead, a judge must certify the case by making sure it meets certain criteria. The first requirement has to do with the number of class members.

If the filing of an individual claim involves too many plaintiffs, a class action is considered more reasonable. Therefore, the case typically must include at least 20 litigants for the case to proceed.

For the case to be certified, all the members of the class action must share a common inquiry or fact of law. This makes the process run more efficiently. A court does not want to process a lawsuit that covers the same matter thousands of times.

class action lawsuit

The Lead Plaintiffs in the Case

The other criteria for a class certification point to the lead plaintiffs also referred to as class representatives or, less formally, named plaintiffs. According to ClassAction.org, the lead plaintiff(s) actively take part in the lawsuit from beginning to end. 

The class representative may receive an incentive award, above the recovery amount allocated to the class members. The judge decides the amount of the award and if it should be given.

Therefore, for a judge to certify a case, the lead plaintiff must have the same claim to file as the overall class members. He or she must provide sufficient protection to the members in the case as well. The lead plaintiff is the person who secures the services of the class action attorney

The judge in the case rules on certifying a class action lawsuit based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. If the class action lawsuit meets the certification requirements, the judge may appoint other lead plaintiffs to represent the class members. 

Investopedia explains that class members must confirm they were negatively affected by a defendant’s negligence. However, only the named plaintiff tries the case in court.

Prerequisites for Serving as Lead Plaintiff

As the class representative in a class-action lawsuit, the lead plaintiff must meet specific requirements, namely the following:

  • He or she must represent the overall class and their specific issues in the case.
  • They must be acquainted with the basic factors of the case.
  • They cannot have a conflict of interest that would interfere with their participation.
  • Lead plaintiffs cannot have a history where they committed fraud or violated the law.

How a Class Action Attorney Is Paid

The class action attorney in a class-action lawsuit is typically paid on a contingency basis. If he or she does not win the case, they will not be paid a percentage of the settlement. Therefore, you can liken this type of lawsuit to a personal injury claim. However, it is much broader in scope. 

Everyone has seen TV ads where attorneys tell viewers that they won’t receive a payment if they don’t win a case. Those ads are examples of contingency-based cases. Contingency fees for personal injury lawsuits are usually about 25 to 30 percent. Comparatively, a class action attorney receives a contingency or settlement fee that is around 20 percent.

Class action lawsuits may result in a settlement of millions of dollars, so the contingency fee is really a minor detail. Usually, the class action lawyer pays all the costs related to the case upfront, including the lead plaintiff’s expenses for items, such as mailings or travel.

Why Class Action Lawsuits are Filed

Class action lawsuits may also be called mass tort litigation cases. The cases are normally filed against a manufacturer or company whose negligence in the manufacture or design of a product-led to consumer injuries.

The filing of a class-action lawsuit may also result from:

  • An error in the manufacture of a medication
  • Mistakes made in the design of a medical device
  • An illegal business practice
  • Discrimination in the workplace
  • The breach of an agreement

Pursuing a class action lawsuit does not cost as much as following up on an individual personal injury claim. Because the plaintiffs split the expenses equally, the overall costs are defrayed for all the parties. Again, plaintiffs pay a contingency fee, so they are not assessed fees unless they win their case.

The filing of a lawsuit must fall within a timeframe that starts from the date of injury. Typically, you have two years to submit a claim. Regardless of the state in which you live, you won’t have any problems with meeting the filing deadline if you file your lawsuit within a year’s time. It is better to proceed with the claim while the details and facts are fresh in your mind.

Filing a class action lawsuit or personal injury claim are two of the most affordable ways to take advantage of legal services. 

Do you have a grievance about an injury you received because of another party’s negligence? If you know that a large number of other people have also made this complaint, take your case to a class action attorney today. Contact Belal Hamideh Law at (562) 526-1224 immediately.