who gets the most money in a class action lawsuit

The adage that there is strength in numbers rings true in many circumstances—even in litigation.

In a class-action lawsuit, a large number of individuals whom the same defendant has harmed can pool their resources together to hold that defendant accountable in one mass lawsuit. But one lawsuit means one jury award or settlement to split among all the plaintiffs. 

So, who gets the most money in a class action lawsuit? And how is settlement money divided in a class action claim? Below, we answer these and other questions about class action lawsuits.

If you need a strong advocate to take the helm of your case, our attorneys at Workplace Rights Law Group can take charge. We have over 75 years of combined experience in employment law, and we have successfully championed the rights of civil plaintiffs throughout California. 

How Do Class Action Lawsuits Work? 

California law allows multiple plaintiffs to join together in the same lawsuit when the following elements are present:

  • The plaintiffs have a common general interest, and 
  • Bringing all of the plaintiffs before the court would be impracticable. 

To maintain a class action suit, your class needs to be certified by the court, and there needs to be a plaintiff who represents the class. 

A class of plaintiffs can receive court certification in California only if the following apply:

  • The class representative adequately represents the class;
  • The issues being litigated are common to the class members and predominate in the class; and 
  • The class representative’s claims and defenses are typical of the class they represent.

Once a class is certified, class members are typically notified about the claim and allowed to opt out of the lawsuit; then, the class representative and their attorney litigate the claim. If you are not the class representative, you may or may not be called on to provide evidence for a hearing. 

At the conclusion of a successful class action claim, there is either a trial award or a settlement between the parties. If your class representative and their attorney decide to settle, the court must approve the settlement, including the fees to which the attorney is entitled.

To give class members a chance to object to a proposed settlement, California law requires class action litigants to notify all class members about the settlement terms before the settlement becomes final.

However, unless you are the representative class member in a class action lawsuit, you might have to do little to nothing to receive the spoils of a successful legal fight. Now, let’s discuss who gets the most money in a class action lawsuit. 

How Is Settlement Money Divided in a Class Action Lawsuit?

When a defendant in a class action lawsuit pays out settlement money it is typically distributed a follows. The class attorney’s are compensated for their work in an amount that could be more than 30% of the total settlement amount.

From there, the class representatives and those who prove they suffered substantially more damage may receive significantly more money than other class members.

In addition to their share of the damages, a class representative might also receive an incentive award worth thousands of dollars or more as compensation for taking the lead (and taking on the risks) in the case. 

How Much Money Do You Get from a Class Action Lawsuit?

If you are wondering how much a class action lawsuit is worth or what is the average payout for a class action lawsuit, the answer is that it depends. The amount of money you can recoup in a class action lawsuit depends on factors such as: 

  • The nature of the class action claims,
  • How much the defendant’s actions damaged you and each plaintiff, 
  • The percentage your attorney receives from the award or settlement, and 
  • Whether you were a class representative who was exposed to more risks in litigation than the other class members. 

Your recovery could be a couple of hundred dollars, tens of thousands, or more or less. By responding to court notices about opting out of a class action claim or notices about objecting to a proposed settlement, you could help secure a larger settlement for yourself and the entire class. 

Ready to maximize your recovery in a class action lawsuit? Call or fill out the form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced California employment lawyer.
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Get the Most out of Your Claim by Contacting Workplace Rights Law Group

At Workplace Rights Law Group, we have over 75 years of combined experience, which has has made us successful attorneys who get big results for the individuals seeking our help.

We place limitations on our caseload, customize our strategies, and use our expertise to win the most relief for our clients. Attorneys who know how to maximize the recovery in a class action lawsuit can maximize what you recoup as an individual class member. 

Over the years, we have won millions for injured parties in California. Because our attorneys have previously worked for defendants in civil cases, we have and understand the playbook for how to beat defendants and make them pay every penny they owe.

If you are contemplating participating in a class action lawsuit or taking legal action alone, we are here to help you. Please give us a call or fill out our online intake form to schedule a free case review.

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