Pharmaceutical class action vs individual lawsuit - what are the benefits and risks for me?

If you suffered minor to moderate injuries due to a defective drug, it may be more efficient to join an existing class-action lawsuit. If the use of a certain pharmaceutical product resulted in severe injuries or even wrongful death, patients or relatives are generally advised to file individual lawsuits.

Defective drugs can cause serious injuries and when that happens, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As an injured patient, you could be stuck between a choice to file a pharmaceutical lawsuit against manufacturing companies either individually or as part of a class-action lawsuit. So it's important to know what's your best option.

Patients who suffered severe injuries, or representatives of patients who suffered wrongful death as a result of a defective drug, are advised to file individual lawsuits. By presenting one single case, an attorney can make sure the judge or jury will fully appreciate the severity of the injuries and the financial and emotional long-term consequences.

In a class-action lawsuit, a class of plaintiffs sues a drug maker for injuries caused by their actions or inactions. Normally, the group of people is collectively represented by a single member of the group or one or more law firms. Joining class action lawsuits is recommended for patients who suffered minor to moderate injuries. The number of plaintiffs can impress a judge or jury when the severity of their particular injuries would not.

Basic benefits and risks

Benefits of individual lawsuits:

  • When you file an individual lawsuit, all the compensation awarded goes to you. Thus, you will end up with more money if you win the case.

Risks of individual lawsuits:

  • These lawsuits take a lot of time and are costly.
  • If there are multiple individuals claims, those who file earlier will get more money.

Benefits of class-action lawsuits:

  • Less hassle than an individual case. Suppose there are thousands of people like you. You can join in class action and file a claim together against the manufacturer.
  • The defendants would rather settle the case than continue the litigation because they risk big money.
  • Courts avoid seeing hundreds of plaintiffs for the same case.
  • Injured parties receive compensation in proportion to the damage they incurred and at the same time.
  • You won’t pay any legal fees upfront. Attorneys are paid at the end of the case when they collect a percentage of the settlement.

Risks of class-action lawsuits:

  • Lack of control over the litigation process and settlement, you cannot decide whether you want to settle or continue litigation.
  • You end up with far less money than in an individual lawsuit.
  • If the class action lawsuit is not successful, you do not have the right to bring an individual lawsuit at a later date.

For help to decide which type of lawsuit to choose, contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. We specialize in pharmaceutical lawsuits, can discuss your specific situation, and guide you through the legal choices that best fit your case.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.