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What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

With a few class action lawsuits in the news right now. The Kahler Personal Injury Law Firm explain the basics of a class action suit. The organizations showcased are the RCMP in a sexual harassment law suit, Bell in Yellowknife, regarding mobile phone charges for non-existent services. In Elliott Lake, ON, there is a class action lawsuit regarding the Algo Centre Mall collapse that killed two people and injured more than 20 others.

What is a class action lawsuit?

Where a group of people have suffered similar loss or damage in due to the fault of another individual or organization, one person can represent the group in order to seek legal retribution for all. In this situation, the “group” would be referred to as the “class”.

How is a class action the same as any other lawsuit?
In tort lawsuits there are four elements that must be present. This applies both for class action lawsuits and law suits where one person suffers loss and files a claim against the offender.

Duty of Care – In tort law there must be a duty of care. This is a set of responsibilities the defendant is reasonably expected to carry out.

Breach of Duty – The injured persons (the class) must be able to prove that the offender did in fact, fail to carry out this duty. This is called breach of duty.
Negligence – This negligence in carrying out expected responsibilities must be proven to have caused the injury or loss to the group.
Damages – The group of people who are seeking justice, have a right to expect financial reimbursement to cover the cost of damages suffered

Who is in the class?

Anyone who has suffered similar loss, will be contacted regarding the lawsuit. The individuals will be given the opportunity to take part as an equal member of the “class.” Every member has equal opportunity to contribute evidence and is entitled to receive equal benefits when the case is settled.

In order to qualify as a class action lawsuit, the details must be brought before the court. If the particulars of the case meet the necessary criteria, the court will certify the claim as a class action lawsuit and the case can move forward from there.

What are the pros and cons of a class action lawsuit?

Pros of a class action:
Class action lawsuits make it affordable for the everyday working man to make a case against a large corporation. Without the opportunity to band together seeking strength in numbers and sharing the cost burden, few individuals could imagine taking on a corporate giant with its army of advisers, legal support and financial backing.

Cons of a class action:
Usually claims are for relatively small amounts. Remember each class member will receive an equal portion when the case is settled. For persons who have suffered a greater loss than others in the group, a class action lawsuit may not be the best choice.

For more information on The Kahler Personal Injury Law Firm and your rights following an accident, please contact one of our offices located in Toronto, Barrie and North Bay. The Kahler Personal Injury Lawyers offer free consultations, and no fees are collected until your case has been won.

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