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The Benefits of Suing Independently vs. Class Action Lawsuit 

Gordon, Wolf & Carney  Feb. 7, 2024

A class action lawsuit is a legal action where a group of people, who've been affected by the same issue, come together to sue a defendant. An individual lawsuit, on the other hand, is when a single person takes legal action against another party. While this path can offer more control over the case and potentially higher compensation, it can also be more costly and time-consuming.  

A class action lawsuit could be more appropriate when many people are affected by the same issue, making collective action more feasible. But you might choose an individual lawsuit when you've suffered more damages than others in a similar situation. But then there's mass torts... which is a related yet totally separate concept.  

We're here to look into the advantages of these different approaches so you can make an informed decision if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. 

Independent Lawsuits Benefits

Suing independently allows you to keep the focus on your specific case. In our opinion, the biggest benefit is control. You're in the driver's seat when it comes to deciding whether to settle or take the case to court. This means you can tailor your legal strategy to fit your unique circumstances and pursue the results that matter most to you. 

Moreover, the potential compensation in an individual lawsuit isn't limited by the interests of other plaintiffs. It's tailored to your specific damages, which could mean a higher payout. 

Concerned about time? Individual lawsuits often have a faster timeline for resolution compared to class actions. This means you could see results sooner rather than later. 

All these benefits are meaningful, but we’d advise against making any final decisions until you speak with a trusted civil litigation attorney.  

Class Actions Benefits

Class action lawsuits offer a powerful alternative to individual suits. They provide strength in numbers, allowing multiple plaintiffs to band together to challenge a defendant's actions. This collective front can lend more weight to your claims and offer additional support. 

In terms of process, class actions are streamlined. Instead of juggling multiple individual lawsuits, there's only one case to manage. This reduces costs and time spent on discovery. 

Speaking of costs, they're shared among all class members in a class action suit. This makes it a more cost-effective option for individuals with smaller claims. 

Class action lawsuits also promote judicial efficiency by resolving disputes for all class members in one fell swoop. This efficiency extends to protection as well, as a successful class action lawsuit can help stop illegal practices and shield future employees from similar harm. 

Worried about retaliation from your employer? Joining a class action reduces the risk of direct retaliation. Plus, you'll have access to experienced counsel who are well-versed in the specific area of law. 

Even if your individual damages are relatively small, you still stand a chance to receive compensation if the class action lawsuit is successful. And perhaps one of the most empowering aspects of class actions is that they level the playing field, allowing individuals with limited resources to stand up to powerful defendants. 

What About Mass Torts?

Mass torts are civil actions that have many plaintiffs against one or a few corporate defendants in state or federal court. They are similar to class actions in that they involve a large number of plaintiffs; however, they are typically handled differently. Every plaintiff in a mass tort has an individual claim resulting from distinct damages.  

In essence, mass torts allow for the individuality of each plaintiff's case to be recognized, which isn’t always the case with class actions. 

Mass Torts vs. Individual Lawsuits and Class Actions  

Suing independently allows you to maintain control over your case and potentially secure a higher payout. However, if many people have been affected by the same issue, a class action lawsuit may be more appropriate. Class actions offer strength in numbers and can be more cost-effective. 

Where do mass torts fit into this? Well, mass torts can be seen as a middle ground between individual lawsuits and class actions. They allow a large number of plaintiffs to sue a defendant for damages, much like a class action. However, they also allow for each plaintiff's unique circumstances and injuries to be considered individually, much like an individual lawsuit. 

The Strength of Mass Torts  

Mass torts offer several advantages. For one, they provide plaintiffs with the opportunity to have their case heard individually, which can result in substantial compensation if their case is particularly strong or if their injuries are severe. 

Additionally, mass torts can put significant pressure on defendants. The sheer volume of cases can often incentivize defendants to settle, which can expedite the resolution process. 

Finally, mass torts allow for individualized justice while also sharing the benefits of collective action. They recognize the unique damages suffered by each plaintiff while providing the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and collective power of a group lawsuit. 

Making Your Decision: Factors to Mull Over

Whether you're considering an individual lawsuit, a class action, or a mass tort, it's crucial to understand your options. At Gordon, Wolf & Carney, we're here to help guide you through these choices.  

No matter what, it's always important to consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances. 

At Gordon, Wolf & Carney, we're committed to offering our clients experienced and focused representation. If you need legal assistance, call our Maryland firm or fill out the attached form, and we'll be in touch to schedule a meeting. We serve clients nationwide.