Chances are that you've heard of the term 'class action lawsuits' before, but if you haven't actually been involved in one, you may not fully understand what they are or what are involved. So when someone says to you that they have a 'pending' class action lawsuit, you're likely to be even more confused than you were before. If you're planning on taking that legal route to settle an issue then you need to at least know the basics.

What Is A Class Action Lawsuit?

Every day people find themselves in disputes that cannot be resolved amicably. When that happens they go to court to have a judge or jury to settle their differences. However, when it is a class action lawsuit, it is not one individual who is filing a complaint against a defendant but it is a large group of people. So, rather than each individual filing their own complaint against a single defendant or a corporation, a single lawsuit is filed on behalf of all of the complainants.

What Does It Mean When It Is Pending?

When class action lawsuits have yet to be heard in court they are called 'pending class action lawsuits.' It may take quite some time for a case to be heard so if you plan on joining in filing such a suit, it would not be wise to expect an immediate decision. This could have a bearing on your decision to participate in the case. If you're expecting a settlement in which to pay bills or to recover lost property at some point then you'll need to be realistic in your expectations. It would be wise to discuss this matter with your attorney so that you can find alternative options for your relief.

Not A Tort

While many people may have heard the term 'class action' they may not know the difference between that and a 'mass tort.' Both types of lawsuits are very similar in purpose. However, unlike a tort, pending class action lawsuits have a singular purpose, to cut down the number of court cases filed in situations where many people have experienced the same type of damages. Torts, on the other hand, are lawsuits where large numbers of people are injured in some way on a large scale, for example, by defective drugs, or a manufacturer's negligence. In actuality, a class action suit is a type of mass tort lawsuit.

Mass tort litigations tend to be much more complicated than a class action lawsuit because they do not often follow the same legal procedures. Settling such cases can be very difficult to do because of the number of claims that are often filed together.

It can be very difficult to understand the legal proceedings for the average person. However, those that choose to pursue their case through pending class action lawsuits, can fully expect to spend a great deal of time waiting for things to happen. When a pending class action lawsuit is waiting for the courts to address it you may want to use that time to discuss alternative options with your attorney so that you know what you can do if your case is delayed for weeks, months, and sometimes even years.