How Much Money is There per Person in an Average Class Action Lawsuit?

When you’re considering joining a class action lawsuit, one of the first questions on your mind is likely, “How much money can I expect to receive if the case is successful?”

The answer depends on several factors, including the total settlement amount, the number of class members, and the specific details of the case. In some instances, individual class members may receive just a few dollars, while in other cases, they could be awarded hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Let’s get into the details and see how much YOU might be able to get personally.

Factors Determining Class Action Settlement Amounts per Person

According to Lexology, as of the end of the first quarter of 2024, the aggregate settlement total across all areas of class action litigation and government enforcement lawsuits is $19.8 billion. It is anticipated that these numbers will further increase.

When it comes to determining the amount each class member will receive in a class action settlement, several key factors come into play:

Total Settlement Amount

The total settlement amount is a crucial factor in determining how much each plaintiff will receive. The size of the settlement fund is often influenced by the severity of the alleged wrongdoing and the number of plaintiffs involved. A larger settlement fund divided among fewer plaintiffs generally results in higher individual payouts.

On the other hand, a smaller settlement fund shared among a large number of plaintiffs may lead to more modest individual settlements. It’s important to remember that the total settlement amount is not always indicative of the strength of the case but rather a result of negotiations between the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the defendants.

Plaintiff Categories and Injury Severity

In most class action lawsuits, plaintiffs are categorized based on the severity of their injuries or the extent of their damages. Lead plaintiffs, who are often the most seriously affected and play a more active role in the litigation, typically receive larger shares of the settlement.

Plaintiffs with more severe injuries or substantial damages are also likely to receive higher compensation compared to those with minor or unsubstantiated claims. This categorization ensures that settlement funds are distributed fairly among the plaintiffs based on the impact the alleged wrongdoing had on their lives.

Attorney Fees and Litigation Costs

Before the settlement funds are distributed to the plaintiffs, attorney fees and litigation costs are deducted from the total amount. In class action lawsuits, attorneys often work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if the case is successful.

The court must approve the percentage of the settlement allocated to attorney fees to ensure that it is reasonable and does not unfairly diminish the plaintiffs’ compensation. Litigation costs, such as expert witness fees and administrative expenses, are also deducted from the settlement fund before distribution to the plaintiffs.

Top Class Actions Settlements

The following amounts represent the settlements that have been reached by each area of class action litigation so far in 2024, based on a Lexology report:

  • Products liability or mass tort class actions: $13.73 Billion
  • Antitrust class actions: $1.65 Billion
  • Securities fraud class actions: $1.21 Billion
  • Consumer fraud class actions: $558 Million
  • Data breach class actions: $388.95 Million
  • ERISA class actions: $288 Million
  • Privacy class actions: $265.5 Million
  • Discrimination class actions: $141 Million
  • Wage & hour class and collective actions: $139.3 Million
  • Labor class actions: $47.45 Million
  • Government enforcement actions: $47.3 Million
  • Civil rights class actions: $47.25 Million
  • TCPA class actions: $28.93 Million
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act class actions: $23.71 Million

Unclaimed Class Action Settlement Money

According to Top Class Actions, unclaimed funds in class action settlements often don’t revert to the defendant but are handled according to the settlement’s specific terms.

These unclaimed amounts may be redistributed among existing class members as a second award, or directed to a charity or non-profit organization, known as a “cy pres recipient.” This ensures that unclaimed settlement funds continue to serve the public good even if not claimed by individual members.

Timeline for Receiving Class Action Payouts

When you’re part of a class action lawsuit, it’s natural to wonder when you can expect to receive your share of the settlement. The timeline for receiving class action payouts can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the case and the specific terms of the settlement agreement.

In most cases, it takes several months to a year or more from the time a settlement is reached until class members receive their funds.

Court Approval Process

Once a settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit, it must be approved by the court. The judge will review the settlement terms to ensure that they are fair and adequate for all plaintiffs involved.

As part of this process, the court will hold a fairness hearing, during which plaintiffs can object to the proposed settlement if they believe it is unfair or inadequate. The judge will consider these objections before making a final decision on whether to approve the settlement.

Factors Affecting Payout Timelines

Even after a settlement has been approved, it may take several months or even years for plaintiffs to receive their individual payouts. The complexity of the case and the number of plaintiffs involved can significantly impact the timeline for distributing settlement funds.

Additionally, if the defendants choose to appeal the settlement decision, it can further delay the payout process. Administrative tasks, such as processing claim forms and verifying plaintiff information, can also extend the time it takes for plaintiffs to receive their shares of the settlement.

Options for Plaintiffs Awaiting Payouts

If you’re a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit, waiting for your settlement payout can be a frustrating and financially challenging experience. However, there are options available to help you bridge the gap until your funds arrive:

Lawsuit Loans and Pre-Settlement Funding

For plaintiffs who are struggling financially while waiting for their class action settlement payouts, lawsuit loans, and pre-settlement funding may provide some relief. These options allow plaintiffs to receive an advance on their expected settlement amounts, which can help cover essential expenses in the meantime.

Approval for lawsuit loans and pre-settlement funding is typically based on the merits of the case rather than the plaintiff’s credit score or financial history. It’s important to note that these advances often come with high interest rates and should be considered carefully before proceeding.

Financial Planning and Budgeting

While waiting for a class action settlement payout, it’s crucial for plaintiffs to create a budget based on conservative estimates of their expected compensation. Prioritizing essential expenses, such as housing, food, and medical costs, can help ensure that plaintiffs are able to make ends meet during the waiting period.

Seeking the advice of a financial professional can also be beneficial in developing a plan for managing settlement funds once they are received. This may include creating an investment strategy, establishing an emergency fund, or paying off high-interest debt.

Maximizing Your Class Action Settlement Share

As a class member in a class action lawsuit, there are steps you can take to maximize your potential settlement share.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to stay informed about the progress of the case and to promptly respond to any notices or requests for information from the attorneys or claims administrator. You should also remember to:

Document Injuries and Damages

To maximize your share of a class action settlement, it’s essential to keep thorough records of any injuries, damages, or expenses related to the case. This may include medical treatment records, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and documentation of lost wages due to the alleged wrongdoing.

Providing strong evidence to support your injury claims can help ensure that you receive fair compensation for the harm you have suffered. In our experience, plaintiffs who maintain organized records and communicate effectively with their attorneys often have a better chance of securing a larger share of the settlement.

Participate in the Claims Process

Actively participating in the claims process is another key factor in maximizing your class action settlement share. This means promptly responding to requests for information from your attorneys or the court, submitting claim forms and required documentation by the specified deadlines, and attending fairness hearings if you have concerns about the proposed settlement.

We’ve commonly seen plaintiffs miss out on their rightful compensation simply because they failed to engage in the claims process fully. By staying informed and involved throughout the litigation, you can help protect your interests and ensure that you receive the maximum possible settlement amount.

Key Takeaways

  • Class action settlement amounts per person vary based on the total settlement fund size, the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries, and attorney fees.
  • Payouts can take months or even years to be distributed, depending on the court approval process and administrative tasks involved.
  • Pre-settlement funding options, such as lawsuit loans, can provide financial relief for plaintiffs awaiting payouts, but they should be considered carefully due to high interest rates.
  • Documenting injuries and damages thoroughly and participating actively in the claims process can help maximize your share of the class action settlement.

Legal Funding Options for Your Class Action Lawsuit

If you’re in need of financial assistance while awaiting your class action settlement payout, the loan representatives at Mayfair Legal Funding can help explore your options for pre-settlement funding. Unlike some other lawsuit loan companies, we prioritize transparency and work diligently to ensure our clients understand the terms of their funding agreements.

Our application process is simple and straightforward, and we pride ourselves on providing competitive rates and excellent customer service. To learn more about how Mayfair Legal Funding can help you access a portion of your expected settlement funds before your case concludes, call us today at (888) 357-1338 or visit our website to apply online.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average class action settlement amount per person?

There is no “average” class action settlement amount per person, as each case is unique and settlement amounts vary widely based on the specific circumstances of the lawsuit.

Can I opt-out of a class action settlement if I'm not satisfied with the proposed amount?

Yes, plaintiffs usually have the right to opt out of a class action settlement if they believe the proposed compensation is inadequate. However, opting out means you will not receive any portion of the settlement funds and must pursue your claim independently.

Are class action settlement amounts taxable?

The taxability of class action settlement amounts depends on the nature of the compensation. Settlements for personal physical injuries or physical sickness are generally not taxable, while settlements for emotional distress or economic damages may be subject to taxation.

How can I find out if I'm eligible to join a class action lawsuit?

If you believe you have been affected by the alleged wrongdoing in a class action lawsuit, you can contact the attorneys representing the plaintiffs or visit the official settlement website for more information on eligibility and how to join the case.