Negligence of manufacturers and distributors of a certain product may result to damages that will burden a number of people especially if the said product is widely distributed and used.
Because of this, there are laws which allow a group of individual to collectively sue a company for their negligence that caused injuries and deaths to people.
California class action lawsuits are filed by established lawyers and law firms in order to consolidate the complaints generated by an act of negligence. They must prove that the company committed negligence and disregarded the health and safety of their consumers.
How it Works
The victim may have to undergo tests or present evidence to prove his eligibility to join the said class action lawsuit filed or to be filed by an established lawyer.
Once the eligibility has been proved, the lawyer and his clients will then go through contracts and agreements, one of which indicates that the plaintiff may not sue the same company for the same negligence after he gets compensation for the same injury either by mediation, settlement, or by trial.
Lawyers who handle cases like this sometimes work on a contingency basis which means that he will only be paid if he wins the case. These lawyers sometimes get 30-50 per cent of the total damages awarded to them.
Compensation for Damages
Since malfunctions and defects may have different effects on people, it is not unusual for the compensation for each plaintiff to differ. Depending on the extent of the damages, the compensation given by the company will be divided among the victims. But, in most cases, compensation is equally divided among them.
The damages awarded to the victims are often made up of two parts: the punitive damages and the compensatory damages. Compensatory damages pertain to the actual economic and non-economic losses of the victim such as hospitalization expenses and hedonic damages.
Punitive damages are usually high as it serves as a punishment for the company for committing negligence. In punitive damages, the plaintiff must prove that the defendants knew about the defect and they failed to act on it.
Both parties may consider a settlement or mediation before they go to trial which may have disadvantages to both parties. In trials, usually a jury trial, the defendant is asked to pay higher punitive damages which may result to bankruptcy and the plaintiff will then not be awarded with compensation at all.
Another scenario for a jury trial is when the plaintiff wins but the defendant appeals the decision which further delays the pay out for the victims.
Unlike in trials, mediation and settlement offers an easier way to settle the amount of compensation to be paid out which will then be received by complainants at a shorter period of time and use it to recover from their injury or the loss of a loved one.