A class action lawsuit is a different type of court case in New York. These cases do not always work the same way as other civil cases. They generally involve large numbers of peoples, huge companies and many lawyers. While you certainly can start a class action, most often, you will be asked to join a class action. When this happens, it helps to know a few things about this type of case.
Kiplinger explains that class action lawsuits are effective because they fall back on the idea that there is strength in numbers. The main idea behind this type of lawsuit is gathering a large group of people to go against a company that has done them wrong. Having claims from multiple people, sometimes numbering in the thousands, gives the case against the defendant a lot of strength. So, when you join such a case, you benefit from that.
However, having so many people involved means if you do win the case, the payout is very low. All of you have to split whatever you get. While these cases often have damages in the millions, when you divide that between thousands of people, it often equals out to a very minor amount of money. In some cases, you do not even get money but products or services for free.
You can always opt out. In most cases, you are automatically added to the lawsuit unless you opt out. Typically, you may not care and just go along with the lawsuit. However, if you suffered severe damages that you want to hold the company accountable for, you should opt out because becoming part of the lawsuit means you give up your rights to sue individually. This information is for education and is not legal advice.