While it certainly is possible for a business to injure only one individual, corporations routinely cause damage to hundreds, thousands or even millions of Americans. Rather than having each injured person go through separate litigation, class-action lawsuits allow for everyone to seek redress in a single case.
According to NBC News, class action lawsuits can force companies to change their ways. This can be good for both those with existing injuries and those who would have suffered an injury in the future. Still, someone typically must be the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit.
The lead plaintiff
The lead plaintiff, sometimes called the named plaintiff, is the injured person whose name actually goes on the lawsuit. To be a lead plaintiff, you must prove that you have suffered some type of cognizable injury. Your injury also must be the same as or similar to those others in the class-action lawsuit have suffered. There can be more than one lead plaintiff, though.
Your financial recovery
If your class action leads to a jury award or financial settlement, you are likely to share the compensation you receive with all other members of the suit. That is, you may not receive a larger share solely because you are the lead plaintiff. Furthermore, the amount you receive might be different than you would receive with a standalone lawsuit.
There are some clear advantages and disadvantages that come with being a lead plaintiff, of course. Ultimately, before you decide to become one, it is important to understand all of these.