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Learn More About Illinois Class Actions

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FAQ's About Class Actions Lawsuits helps people find the right lawyer for their legal situation. We also answer Illinois legal questions. Below is a list of common questions we’ve received on class action cases.

My case could be a class action, but I want to be the only plaintiff. Is that allowed?

It is allowed, but often individual cases are not viable on their own (in other words they would cost too much) or a judge may decide that individual cases have to be a part of a class action in order to prevent a defendant from incurring exorbitant costs by defending a similar case over and over.

How are lawyers paid in class action cases?

Most class action cases are brought because a single, successful plaintiff would not be able to recover enough to pay their attorney. For example, if one person is defrauded out of $100.00, it is not worth bringing a case as the court filing fees alone could exceed the recovery. However, if 10,000 people suffered the same harm and lost $100.00 they can work together to pursue a lawsuit. In that example or any class action lawsuit, the attorneys that we recommend do not ask for money up front, but rather receive a percentage of what they recover and those fees must be approved by a judge.

How does a case become a class action?

A class action is generally started by a lawsuit from one person (or possibly a small group of people) who feel they have been wronged. If it becomes clear that many others have suffered a similar harm, their lawyers will ask the court to recognize the similar harm by certifying a class action. If the motion to become a class action is approved, the other people who have been harmed will be given notice and the opportunity to join the class action.

What is a lead plaintiff and what do they have to do?

A lead plaintiff is also known as a class representative. Their job is to work with the lawyer to look out for the interests of the other class members. They typically understand what a case is about and will likely have to answer written questions and give a deposition at some point.

If I am the lead plaintiff will I receive more compensation that the rest of the class?

Typically, yes. While there is no guarantee that this will happen, judges are given discretion in determining what a lead plaintiff can receive and in recognition of their efforts the lead plaintiff will usually be awarded more money that the other class members if the case is successful. This often depends on the involvement of the lead plaintiff and the size of the recovery.

I heard that if my case is successful I will only get a coupon and the lawyer will get a lot of money. Is that true?

While there have been circumstances where the courts have determined that providing coupons was proper relief for a class settlement, this rarely happens and new laws have been written to discourage that from happening again. If you have concerns about that issue we highly recommend that you raise them when you speak with us or the lawyer we refer you to.

I don’t want to file a class action. What other resources do I have to prevent the fraud from happening to other people?

We almost always recommend that people file complaints with the Illinois Attorney General Department of Consumer Fraud. In addition, many cities in Illinois have consumer service departments and sometimes filing complaints there can be helpful. Finally, although the Better Business Bureau has no enforcement power, they can at times put pressure on a company to stop their bad behavior.

These are just some of the questions that we often hear from people who want to learn more about Illinois class action laws. If you have any additional questions or would like a referral to an Illinois class action law firm, please contact us. All calls and e-mails are free and confidential.