“What Qualifies as a Class Action Lawsuit in Canada?“
A class action lawsuit is a civil action filed by one person on behalf of a class of people who have suffered injury or loss due to the negligence or wrongdoing of the same defendant(s). When the underlying cause of the injury or loss is similar for all class members, the individual claims can be combined into a single class action. A judge will decide whether the case can go forward as a class action. This is known as the certification process.
There are four main steps in having a lawsuit certified as a class action:
1. Identify the Class
Before filing a lawsuit, determine whether this is a class of people who share some defining characteristics:
- Similar injuries or losses caused by the same defendant(s)
- Similar/same underlying cause of the injury or loss
- The same time period in which the injury or loss occurred
2. Choose a Representative Plaintiff
One person needs to be chosen as the representative of the group. This person will be appointed by the Court to serve as the representative plaintiff and will advance the lawsuit on behalf of the class.
3. File the Statement of Claim
In Canada, the document filed to start a class action lawsuit is called the Statement of Claim, Notice of Civil Claim, or Application for Authorization, depending on the province in which the lawsuit is filed. The facts of the case must be set out in detail along with the compensation or relief sought from the defendants.
4. Apply for Certification
The court will decide if the lawsuit meets the criteria for certification. In most provinces, the criteria are as follows:
- There must be a lawful claim made against the defendant (called a cause of action)
- A specific, identifiable class of two or more persons must be established
- There must be common questions of law or fact shared by the class members
- The class must have an appointed and appropriate representative plaintiff
- A class action must be the preferable method for resolving the claims
If the court is satisfied that the plaintiffs have supported their motion effectively, it will certify the lawsuit as a class action.
“What Are ‘Common Questions’ in a Class Action?“
You may have heard the term class action common questions and wondered what it could mean. Common questions or issues of law or fact in a class action lawsuit are part of the foundations of the suit itself. Without them, the suit would not be considered a class action.
Simply put, a common question is a critical element of the claim that all the members of a class share. There are common questions of law and common questions of fact. A question of law refers to the interpretation or application of a particular law to a claim. A question of fact relates to the circumstances or facts of the case. Questions of law can be applied to many different cases, but a question of fact will be specific to the case at hand.
Consider, for instance, a business owner accused of speeding through their own parking lot. A question of fact could be whether this person was actually speeding. A question of law could be whether local speeding regulations would apply to someone speeding on private property.
Read More: How Is a Class Action Lawsuit Different from a ‘Mass Tort’?
“How Many People Do You Need for a Class Action in Canada?“
You only need one person to start a class action lawsuit in Canada. However, that one person must represent at least two persons with common issues. They could, and often do, represent hundreds or thousands. The point of a class action is to combine separate claims into one where the individulas have a common cause of action against a defendant or defendants.
If you believe you are one of many who may have been physically or economically injured by the same negligent entity, contact Klein Lawyers for a Free Consultation and assessment of your claim.
Read More: How to File a Class Action Lawsuit
“What Are the Three Goals of Class Actions?“
There are three goals of class action lawsuits. These are:
Class action suits make the pursuit of justice more efficient and effective by combining numerous claims into single lawsuit.
Access to Justice
A suit filed on behalf of members of a class gives many who couldn’t afford to file a lawsuit on their own the ability to pursue justice.
Class actions serve to hold wrongdoers accountable and deter others from the same types of behaviour.
“How Is Money Divided in a Class Action Lawsuit?“
Once a final settlement or judgement is reached in a class action lawsuit, a settlement fund is established. A court-appointed administrator will manage this fund. Compensation is sometimes distributed evenly between the members of the class. However, the settlement can also be distributed individually based on the significance of different class members’ injuries or damages.
“How Long Does It Take to Get a Payout from a Class Action Lawsuit?“
Class action lawsuits are complex and, as a result, can take many years to resolve. Each case will be different, but the average length of a suit is typically 2–5 years. Once a final settlement is reached, receiving compensation will take a bit longer.
The amount of claims, the size of the class, and the defendant’s capability to pay will all have a bearing on how long it will take to receive an award from the settlement. In some cases, compensation is made through a series of payments.
“Why Are Class Actions Beneficial?“
A beneficial feature of class action lawsuits is accountability. The reason that class actions exist is because multiple plaintiffs have come forward with the same or similar injuries or damages as a result of the behaviour of the same defendant.
This is a red flag, letting the public know that the entity in question was irresponsible or negligent. Class action lawsuits seek justice, and have the potential to make an example of the defendant, placing their transgressions before the eye of the world and warning others to avoid those same injurious actions.
Being a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit means you are making a change in the world. You are helping to hold wrongdoers accountable and, hopefully, stop them and others from hurting more people down the line.
If you believe there may be others who have been physically or economically injured by the same negligent party that injured you or your client, it may be valuable to determine whether the claims could be certified as a class a
If you believe there may be others who have been physically or economically injured by the same negligent party that injured you or your client, it may be valuable to determine whether the claims could be certified as a class action. Contact Klein Lawyers for a FREE Consultation and assessment to determine if class litigation is appropriate.
When you are injured in a car accident, finding a lawyer can be a daunting task. Knowing which questions to ask is another undertaking that can be overwhelming. We, at Klein Lawyers, understand this can be a frustrating time for you so we have answered some commonly asked questions when trying to find a car accident lawyer to handle your case.
“What Kind of Cases Do We Accept?”
Anyone who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the province of B.C. should contact us. No two accidents are alike so it is difficult to generalize. If there’s been no injury, it is difficult for us to be of much assistance. There is also little we can do to help if you are at fault for the accident. We have a staff of intake specialists who are available to speak to you to discuss your particular case and to schedule a meeting if necessary. There is no cost to you for a consultation.
“How Long Will It Take To Settle My Case?”
This depends on how long the recovery process takes. We will not recommend attempting to resolve your claim until you have either completely recovered, or at the very least are as recovered as you are going to get. Some people will never recover fully. We will always want to have a medical report with a clear diagnosis and prognosis outlining anticipated recovery time, future care needs if any, and the potential impact on employment. In some cases, the opinions from a number of different specialists will be necessary. We may also require the assistance of vocational experts and economists to assist in evaluating your claim.
“My Doctor Says I Need Physiotherapy. How Should I Deal with That?”
ICBC has an obligation to cover certain treatment. This includes physiotherapy. However, sometimes ICBC is slow to approve funding or simply cuts off the funding. We make sure that clients are getting the treatment funding that they are entitled to.
“What Am I Going to Get?”
How much you get depends on many factors including liability, the nature and severity of the injury, the impact upon your employment and recreational activities, past and future care needs and the length of your recovery. There may be many other factors as well but these are the most common ones. An experienced lawyer will know what factors to look for in your particular case.
“Can I Afford You?”
You don’t pay fees unless we get compensation for you for your injuries. You don’t pay anything up front. We spend what needs to be spent in order to move the case forward in the best possible manner. When your claim is resolved your legal fee is a percentage of the settlement or judgment plus the out of pocket expenses. The rest is for you, tax-free.
“Do I Need a Lawyer?”
If you are injured due to someone else’s fault then you definitely should consult a lawyer. After an accident, it is common for most people to be upset and apprehensive. In some cases, the injuries caused by the accident go away after a few days. But, if there is any indication beyond a matter of days that you are still injured you should consult a lawyer. As discussed above, there are many good reasons to involve a lawyer rather than attempting to deal with ICBC on your own.
“How Should You Find a Lawyer?”
Do your homework. Many clients will try to find auto accident lawyers via word of mouth or internet search. However, you should make sure that the lawyer you are looking to consult is in a reputable firm, and concentrates his or her practice on this area of law, and is not a “jack of all trades”. Klein Lawyers has been handling auto accident claims for over 30 years. The firm has a well-earned reputation for hard work and dedication to assisting auto accident victims recover full compensation for their injuries.
“What Can We Do For You Specifically?”
Klein Lawyers has helped thousands of auto accident claimants. We would like to work with you. We will cover the costs of recommended medical assessments, and the gathering of any other evidence to ensure that your case is developed and presented in a professional and advantageous manner.
“What Should You Do Next?”
We really appreciate you taking the time to read this post. We are passionate about what we do and look forward to helping you. We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Your next step should be to consult with one of our lawyers to discuss your case. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in British Columbia and you’d like to speak with us directly, contact us for a free consultation using our online form.