Class Action Lawyers in Coquitlam & Lower Mainland
When a business, government or other organization acts negligently or creates harm in a way that impacts a group of people, a class action law suit is often the most effective way to pursue compensation.
What Is a Class Action?
Class actions are a type of legal proceeding that enables a group of people to pursue justice in ways that they might not otherwise have been able to do as individuals. When a group of people have been wronged in the same way, a class action can be an effective way to achieve a meaningful resolution.
Usually, the issue that is litigated involves an injury or death resulting from a defective product, policy or procedure that adversely affected a number people. Misleading advertising of a harmful product can also form the basis of a class action lawsuit.
At Spraggs & Co., we work with representative plaintiffs to commence class actions that include large groups of people who have been injured or who have suffered. We understand how difficult the process can be, and how it’s possible to feel insignificant in a case that involves a powerful party. That’s why our class action lawyers are available in Coquitlam and surrounding areas to assist with this process.
How Does a Class Action Proceed?
Certain criteria must be met for a class action to occur, including:
- A common question of law and fact amongst class members
- Willingness of class members to be represented by one individual who acts as a representative plaintiff
- The plaintiff member’s claims or defences must be typical of the class
- The plaintiff member must fairly and adequately represent the interests of absent class members’
- Sufficient numbers of class members
- Each class member must have the opportunity to opt out of obtaining their own private counsel; and
- Certification approved by the court.
Once the class action is established, members of the class are treated as one plaintiff and the case is resolved through a single proceeding, which binds all class members (and the opposing parties).
What are the Benefits of a Class Action?
By acting as a group to aggregate their efforts, class actions have many advantages over individual actions, including:
- Lower cost of litigation for each individual, which provides more incentive for individuals to take action
- The vast majority of class members spend no time on the case and may be absent from court when the lawsuit is heard
- The defendant’s behaviour may be changed as a result of greater negotiating power resulting from high numbers of members who confront the business, government or other organization together
- Avoids the potential situation of differing relief for plaintiffs in “limited fund” cases; and
- Avoids the potential for different court rulings, which could create incompatible standards of conduct for the defendant to follow.
How Do Class Actions and Mass Torts Differ?
If the criteria for carrying out a class action are not met, then a mass tort can be a procedural alternative. Sometimes, the court will rule against certifying a class action due to differences in the members’ individual circumstances that could have to be re-tried on an individual basis.
In a mass tort claim, each plaintiff will need to establish the facts, including how he or she was damaged by actions of the defendant, and each case is decided separately. Cost savings can be anticipated as a single lawyer (or a single group of lawyers acting together) represents the injured parties. Often, the group of individuals who pursue a mass tort reside in the same geographic area.
Contact a Class Action Lawyer in Coquitlam
At Spraggs & Co. our class action lawyers serve clients in Coquitlam, Burnaby, White Rock , Vancouver, and surrounding areas of BC. We can proceed with a mass tort where a class action is not possible.
Call us today at 604.464.3333 or toll free at 1.866.939.3339 for more information.