Have you received a notice via email or postcard letting you know you’re part of a class action lawsuit? This type of notification is sent to several people, which may number in the thousands, who have been adversely affected by an organization or a person. Rather than filing individual cases, a person or group uses a class action lawsuit to seek retribution as long as specific procedural requirements are satisfied. Instead of going to trial, a large settlement amount, which may be worth millions of dollars, is paid to each class member when a case is won.
What Is a Class Action Settlement?
A class action lawsuit might be filed if a vehicle manufacturer used a faulty component in one of its cars, which negatively affected several people. Another example would be a banking or phone service conducting an unfair business practice against several of its customers. In these types of cases, class action settlement checks are mailed to each person who was affected if the company being sued is found negligent.
One real-life example of a company having to pay a large settlement is AT&T. The act of sending unsolicited automated calls to individuals cost the company $45 million. Automobile makers Kia and Hyundai are two other companies found guilty of inflating fuel economy data. This business practice cost the companies $395 million. If you start looking for these types of lawsuits, you’ll find other examples that were settled in the millions of dollars – several of those involved consumer privacy, which has become even more prevalent.
What Is the Average Class Action Settlement Per Person?
If you have received a class action lawsuit notice, you may have asked yourself the question, “How much money do you get from a class action lawsuit?” According to statistics derived by NERA Economic Consulting, average settlements in the past few years have been about $56.5 million. While this number sounds significant, the average class-action settlement per person isn’t as exciting. If you have a case where 30 to 50 million people are involved and the settlement amount is $10 million, lawyers will take a big chunk. The class action settlement checks mailed might be as little as just $.25 or a few dollars after what’s left of the settlement has been split up among each class member.
How to Find Out If You Have a Settlement
If you’re a class member of a lawsuit and you want to know how to find out if you have a settlement, there are different ways this type of action might take place after a preliminary settlement is agreed upon or a court approves a case. An in-store posting or ad might be used to notify class members. You may also receive direct notice. If you want to make sure that you’re a recipient when the class action settlement checks are sent out, you may want to check for information related to settlements or current cases. Using a site like www.consumer-action.org can provide you with this type of information.
Visiting this website provides you with information on class-action lawsuits that are in different stages. You’ll find lawsuits that have already been closed and ones currently in arbitration, which can let you know of any big opportunities that may be coming in the future. Cases currently paying out settlement amounts are also listed.
If you go to the “Open To Claims” page and scroll through the listings, you’ll be able to find out if class action settlement checks have already been mailed for specific cases. If not, you can contact the law firms involved in each case to see if you can participate. It’s easy to know if you still have time to be listed as a class member as the site provides deadlines for each claim. Clicking on a claim deadline will take you to a specific website where you can add your information and get on the list of members who will receive class action settlement checks.
Do You Have to Participate?
If you receive a notice indicating you are part of a class action lawsuit, you don’t have to be a participant. However, it’s essential to know that opting out will leave you ineligible to receive any part of a settlement when class action settlement checks are sent. Opting out of a lawsuit usually requires you to follow specific instructions included with the direct notice you received. You also have the choice of opting out and filing an individual lawsuit if you’d like. Regardless of your opting out, the class action suit will continue.
Participating in a Lawsuit
If you receive a direct notice or find out through other means that you’re part of a lawsuit and you want to participate, you usually don’t need to do anything but wait and see if litigation on your behalf and other class members is successful. If this does occur and class action settlement checks are going to be sent, you’ll probably receive another notice informing you of the decision, especially if you received a direct notice initially.
It’s important to note that cases involving discrimination in the workplace, minimum wage violations or unpaid overtime may require you to opt in to the lawsuit. In this situation, you need to inform the required parties that you would like to participate in the case. This type of class action lawsuit will indicate that you are required to opt in when you receive a notice and how you can do it.
When Are Class Action Settlement Checks Mailed?
Participating in these types of lawsuits may mean you have to wait quite a while until the class action settlement checks finally get sent to each class member. Several opportunities may arise that can allow organizations or individuals to appeal a settlement. Class action settlement checks mailed to recipients will include a specific figure divided by each participant. These are usually sent out around six to nine months after being submitted to the court for preliminary approval.
To Participate or Not
While the average class action settlement per person is usually small, you can always put it toward a morning coffee or donate the funds to a favorite charity. Otherwise, the settlement amount you forfeit may be given to another participant in the lawsuit or taken by the plaintiffs and donated to a charity of their choice. If class action settlement checks are sent and you do receive one, you may want to see if you’ll need to pay taxes on the amount you receive. If you decide to donate to a charity, you may be able to use it as a deduction on your taxes.
Don’t be discouraged if you were hoping to receive thousands of dollars from this type of lawsuit. Little amounts can add up over time, or you might become a class member in a lawsuit where the dollar figure on the class action settlement checks sent is significant. Please contact us at Checkissuing.com if you need more information or you need any questions answered.