“Unity is the Strength” – This applies most to the class action lawsuit in Canada. Individuals can be helpless while opposing large organizations. The rights of the plaintiff may be crushed in pursuit of the profits of the opponent.
So, the rights can be realized by creating a large group or class and using the power of many. In Canada, a class-action lawsuit exists across the country. Some certain provinces like Ontario have a disproportionate share of class action lawsuits.
If you are about to file a class-action lawsuit, there are many things you should know. Here we can help you with a complete guide to succeed in your class action lawsuit.
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What is a Class Action Lawsuit?
A class-action lawsuit is a type of legal case brought on by a class of people against an entity or entity. One or more person brings forward a claim to court on behalf of a large number of people.
The representative plaintiffs represent others who have suffered similar harms from the negligence. A class-action lawsuit claim provides a way to pursue justice without taking the individual legal action.
The class action claims of a group of people are resolved in a single proceeding. Some class actions decide around severe injuries often to many people. Besides, the representative plaintiff has more credibility while observed mutually.
The plaintiff has more bargaining power, so they can encourage the defendant to settle down. In Canada, when a class action is filed, everyone with the same claim becomes a member of the class.
The court decides the compensation after examining the claim. If the court clarifies the class action lawsuit, each member gets equal rights to say and receive compensation.
Since so many people are affected, sometimes the victims receive national and even international media attention. All in all, a class action lawsuit is an efficient means of suing the respondent as a group.
A Few Class Actions Cases
Though each class action case is different, here are examples of some class actions;
- Patients are suffering from side effects due to the wrong prescription from a pharmaceutical company.
- Investors paid for a specific bond or fund and lost their money due to security fraud.
- The adverse effects of toxic chemicals may have spilled into the water supply. Thousands of people may be suffering due to toxic chemicals.
- A company discovered a defect in a product but didn’t issue a recall. It results in the injury or death of thousands of people.
The Purpose of a Class Action Lawsuit
A class-action lawsuit aims to help equalize the legal playing field between ordinary people and large corporations. The main goal of the class action lawsuit is to ensure worthwhile access to justice.
Here are some of the goals of the class action lawsuit;
- Accessibility to Justice: It gives a chance to people who might not be able to afford a lawyer’s cost. So they can get an opportunity to have their case in court.
- Behavioral Modification: Discouraging any wrongdoing of powerful corporations by making them pay a large amount of compensation. It sometimes makes them realize their illegal behavior.
- Judicial Economy: It saves the money spent on handling individual cases. The court handles large cases by involving many claims in one trial.
Advantage of a Class Action Lawsuit
The class-action lawsuit is the only genuine way to bring justice to someone or a few people. A group of people can quickly get access to the court. The option helps when it becomes costly and complicated for a person to sue the opponent on their own. So, they can access the court without spending too much money and effort.
How many Members Needed for a Class Action Lawsuit Canada?
There is no hard-and-fast rule on the number of members needed for a class-action lawsuit. A lot of people may have common legal issues. Addressing individual claims might be unrealistic. So, in Canada, hundreds or thousands of people are involved in class action lawsuits.
Depending on the suspected harm, the judge would possibly endorse a class action lawsuit with dozens of members. In the largest class-action lawsuit, there may have millions of eligible class members.
When are Class Actions Preferable to Individuals?
When many plaintiffs are found equally, there is no need for repetitive and expensive hearings. If it becomes difficult for someone to bring a claim, it is worthwhile to pursue a class action.
How does a Class Action Lawsuit Work in Canada?
A class-action lawsuit works in the following way in Canada.
At first, a lawyer records a class action lawsuit in favor of one or more people.
The class-action claim is certified in the court. Then, the judge agrees to continue the case as a class-action lawsuit.
After getting certified, the judge sends notices to all the members having similar claims during that period. Thus, they are informed about the case and ensure input on the case.
This notice gives a chance to the people to withdraw the case. Or else, they can bring an action on their own. If the party remains in the case, they are prohibited from taking any further action.
The class-action lawsuit could possibly proceed for years, depending on alleged damages. It could be both decided out of the court and presented for approval, or the judge could make a decision.
If the class members win the judgment over a company, there would be another publication. It will notify the members about the way to collect their damages.
Largest Class Action Lawsuit in Canada
The largest class action settlement in Canadian history is the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. The deal, which was reached in 2006, established a $1.9 billion fund for those who had experienced institutional abuse and neglect in the system of residential schools. The settlement also outlines how individuals will be assessed for compensation.
The Rights and Responsibilities in a Class Action lawsuit
As a plaintiff or class member, you must submit the claim before the notice period ends. If your class-action claim is successful, the court will send a notice to all eligible parties by publication.
The notice includes detailed instructions on what to submit and where to send your claim. If you don’t get any notice on participation in class actions, you’ve no right to that lawsuit.
Class action lawsuit Canada is somewhat different from other legal cases in Canada. These cases often end in a settlement instead of going to trial. If you have a class action lawsuit claim, contact a class action lawyer right away. Check out if you or your loved one could get compensation for the losses or sufferings.