When you've been injured by a dangerous product, what's the best way to seek legal recourse? The answer may surprise you. Persons injured by defective products typically have two avenues to pursue legal satisfaction: class action lawsuits and private (individual) lawsuits. The differences between these two types of legal actions are many, and you must carefully
When you've been injured by a dangerous product, what's the best way to seek legal recourse? The answer may surprise you.
Persons injured by defective products typically have two avenues to pursue legal satisfaction: class action lawsuits and private (individual) lawsuits. The differences between these two types of legal actions are many, and you must carefully consider your desired outcome before deciding which course of action to take.
Class action lawsuits: a cast of thousands
Class action lawsuits involve multiple individuals with similar injuries or complaints who come together to sue a single defendant. For the courts system, these types of lawsuits serve to keep the courts moving along at a reasonable pace, since large numbers of people individually suing the same defendant could potentially clog the system. However, class action lawsuits aren't always the best option and aren't always available. Determining legal responsiblity for a defective product or establishing a product as defective often takes close examination on an individual basis.
You are well within your rights to join a class action lawsuit, but be aware that a considerable number of these types of lawsuits are administrated by large, multi-state law firms. These law firms usually are not local for the plaintiff and the bulk of their legal work is conducted remotely. Class action lawsuits are bread-and-butter for law firms of this type, and while attorneys are not allowed to state that they specialize in particular types of cases, many law firms actively seek certain types of cases over others.
Does it matter where my attorney is located?
If you choose to participate in a class action lawsuit, you will be in a class with a number of other people who have experienced similar problems, and your case will likely be handled by an attorney at a large, multi-state law firm. However, casting your lot with perhaps hundreds of other people hoping for a similar outcome carries with it the risk of incomplete satisfaction, not to mention reduced compensation. An attorney operating out of a large law firm thousands of miles away may not be able to give you the personal attention you deserve. If that gives you pause, then it may be better to consider working with a local attorney in a private lawsuit.
Working with a local attorney can be a vastly different experience than working with a large, national firm. Most local law firms employ attorneys admitted to the bar in multiple states, particularly if the firm is located in a city near a state border. These attorneys have a keen interest in working with people from their own community and a strong desire to improve the lives and legal situations of the clients they represent. A local law firm is invested in your community in numerous ways - they live in your town, send their children to the same schools as yours, and participate in community events. A local attorney understands you in a way that an attorney far away cannot.
Another advantage of working with a local attorney is that you receive more personal attention just by being located in the same community. You will be able to meet in person with your attorney, get to know them, and be able to rely on them to be present as they are needed in your case. And if your case is more local in nature, your attorney will have a greater familiarity with local laws and will have developed personal relationships with the local courts and courts personnel.
"No Recovery, No Fee"
These are words you'll see often with a number of law firms, including ours. What these words mean is simply that you only owe the attorney if a recovery is made in your case, and not at all if no recovery is made. The attorney does all the work and covers all case expenses throughout the case, and if a recovery is made the client pays the expenses back plus the attorney fee out of the settlement proceeds. This is a common principle for numerous law firms, and for many people it can mean the difference between seeking legal recourse or living with injustice. While large, multi-state firms offer these same words as an enticement, wouldn't you rather sit down, face to face, and talk about your problem instead of conducting all of your business by phone and mail? Our examination of the facts of your case can be done relatively quickly, providing you with the information you need to make a decision in a timely manner.
Keeping it Local
When it comes right down to it, deciding on legal representation is solely your choice. While it may be tempting to respond to a mailed solicitation or broadcast advertisement by a large multi-state law firm, please understand that your case could be one of hundreds in the hands of an attorney you'll likely never meet. Opting for a law firm with offices and attorneys in your own community will allow you to keep a closer watch on the progress of your case. A local attorney can meet with you in your own home or in a hospital room if needed, and will be far more accessible to you over the course of the legal process. What's more, a local attorney is also a local business owner, and choosing to work with a local business benefits the community as a whole.
As a locally-owned and staffed law firm, Gerling Law stands ready to examine your case and help guide you through the legal process. If you'd like more information on what we can do to help you, please contact us.