Class Action Lawsuits if Injured by a Defective Product

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group

A defective product is one that's unsafe because of a flaw in the design or manufacturing. As a result, it might cause injury. Oftentimes a defective product affects a large group of people. In that case it's possible to join a class action lawsuit if you were injured by the same defective product. But in some cases it might make more sense to file an individual claim.

Should I join a class action lawsuit or file individually?

Those who have suffered similar injuries may pursue a claim against the manufacturer as a group. If the injuries are minor, it might make sense to join a class action lawsuit. On your own a minor injury may not warrant pursuing an individual claim. But when combining everyone's injuries, the value becomes much higher.

It's also a good idea to join a class action lawsuit if the number of people affected is so high that filing individually is impossible. Keep in mind that the outcome applies to the whole group; if successful, the recovery is divided among the plaintiffs. However, in some cases where injuries are minor, members of the class may receive coupons or other minor compensation.

The manufacturer's financial situation may prevent them from paying a full recovery on each individual claim, so a class action lawsuit may allow the plaintiffs to recover something. Of course, the opposite is also true. It could mean getting less than if an individual had filed a claim on his or her own.

If you receive a notice about a class action lawsuit, you can opt out of the proceedings. By doing this, you aren't bound by any judgments or settlements. This also means you can't share in the recovery. But it doesn't stop you from pursuing a claim on your own.

There are reasons you might be better off filing an individual claim. One is if the injuries suffered are different than those from the group. If you aren't seeking the same damages or there are other unique circumstances that apply to your case, you might consider filing individually. Further, if you suffered significant damages and you may not recover fair compensation in a class action suit, you may choose to file individually. Talk to a lawyer about which type of legal action might suit you best.

What types of products can lead to a class action or individual lawsuit? 

The following are common types of products that may cause injury and lead to a claim against the manufacturer:

  • children's products (cribs, strollers, toys);
  • automotive (vehicles, parts, car seats);
  • medical devices (defibrillators, hip implants, stents);
  • pharmaceutical drugs (injections, prescription medications); and
  • other consumer products.

Do I need a lawyer if injured by a defective product? 

It's important to seek legal advice if you suffered injuries from a defective product. Legal counsel can explain options, such as pursuing a class action lawsuit or filing individually. If the class action lawsuit is already in progress, you may be able to join and don't have to obtain your own lawyer. But if you want to pursue an individual product liability claim, you will need help from a lawyer.

Contact the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg at 304-931-4088 or contact us online to set up a consultation.