Product Liability: Class Action vs. Individual Lawsuits

Craig McClellan

If you have been injured by a defective medical device or auto part, you are probably not alone. Chances are, the defect is widespread, affecting hundreds or even thousands of people. It is possible to bring all similarly injured parties together in one lawsuit, called a class action lawsuit. Yet, is a class action the best option for your case, or would it be better to bring an individual lawsuit?

Class Action Lawsuits

In a class action lawsuits, a few named plaintiffs bring a lawsuit on behalf of a larger number of individuals who have been injured in the same way by the same company. It is only possible to bring a class action if all members of the class have grievances covered by the lawsuit and are easily identifiable by the court (among other things).

Class actions are especially beneficial when plaintiffs have small grievances. For example, if each individual has lost $150, an individual lawsuit may not be reasonable or effective. A class action involving thousands of plaintiffs and, thus, thousands of dollars, would not only be more cost-effective but could also better convince a business to change its practices.

A large number of individual lawsuits could also clog the courts. If there are numerous similar grievances, courts often prefer class action lawsuits to individual lawsuits.

Individual Lawsuits

Individual lawsuits are a better option when you have unique grievances, your injury is easier to prove than the class' injuries, or your damages are significant. Individual lawsuits allow for more control over the case and are generally more timely than class action lawsuits.

An experienced product defects lawyer can help you evaluate your case and determine whether it is more appropriate to bring a class action lawsuit or an individual suit against the company that injured you. Learn more by visiting our pages on products liability.