Virginia Class Action Lawsuits

A Class Action Lawsuit is a type of lawsuit brought on behalf of multiple injured persons, multiple claimants or plaintiffs. Typically it depends on how many people were injured and on the type of harm, but the basic rule is that a plaintiff who is representative of a class of persons can seek certification as a class.  If you think you may be want to file a class action lawsuit, the following is what you should know. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia injury lawyer today.

Rules For Filing a Class Action Lawsuit

The basic rules for class action lawsuits that come from the federal procedure are:

  • The class has to be numerous such that it doesn’t really make sense to join all of the people as individual plaintiffs, so the first rule is called “numerosity.”
  • The next rule is that there needs to be common questions of facts that apply to everyone.
  • The third rule is that the claims or the defenses of the parties are going to be typical to the claims or defenses of the class. So that can be the theory of negligence or it could be other legal claims. If every single person claims bodily injury and emotional distress as a result of taking a bad drug, that might be a good example of a likely class action. Now if some people are claiming contract claims, some people are claiming other claims, that probably wouldn’t be a good candidate for a class action.
  • The last rule is that the parties that do represent the class need to be able to adequately protect the interests of the entire class as a whole. Those are the federal law bases for when a class action is appropriate, and the Virginia law tracks similarly to that.

Where Class Action Suits Are Heard

Class actions are usually multi-district litigation cases that are heard in federal courts. So the Virginia federal courts are going to be able to hear class actions based on those initial factors. You have a large group of people all harmed by the same or similar cause. They are all bringing similar claims, and the defenses that the defendants will raise are similar, and the representative plaintiff fairly represents the rest of the class. This happens a lot of the times for credit card fraud or unfair billing practices.

Visa, for instance, is probably going to settle a class action case where they were denying payment for Zipcar damage claims that arose from people trying to rely on their Visa card’s inclusion of car rental collision damage waiver. Visa did not recognize Zipcar as a car rental company, and so they didn’t honor the claims. So there is a class action settlement that was recently approved because of that.

If all sorts of people are using a similar service or are injured in a similar manner, whatever it is, that might be right for a Class Action Suit.

Should I Hire My Own Lawyer?

That is going to be a case by case decision. If you are riding in a car with a family member and another vehicle runs through a red light and T-Bone’s your vehicle so that both you and your relative sustain injuries, that is a circumstance in which it might make sense for you both to have the same attorney. You are under no obligation to do that, but a lot of times it helps to have a united front, and when the interests are aligned, a lot of the time it helps to have the same lawyer in that sort of circumstance.

If it is something else, like a work injury or an injury that is caused by someone else’s conduct that injures a whole host of people, sometimes it may make sense to find someone that is better for you, but other times it might make sense to stand together. It really depends on the type of action.