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Are you in any class-action lawsuits?
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It’s a good idea to keep an eye on class-action lawsuits. By learning of active lawsuits you could discover that you have compensation coming to you, or it might be the only way you learn of dangerous products if you weren’t notified by the manufacturer.
A class-action lawsuit comes about when someone files suit and it is determined that many others should be part of it because of similar loss or injury.
In the event you can be found (for instance, if you sent in a warranty card on an appliance), a notice will be sent notifying you that you are a “member of a class” in a legal action. It will tell you about your rights, which are that you can stay in it or you can opt out.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a member of a class-action lawsuit.
One big advantage is that all the work is being done for you. For example, if you bought a toaster and it didn’t perform correctly, perhaps you just threw it out and vowed never to buy that brand again. You wouldn’t go to the expense of hiring an attorney and filing suit over a toaster. But if a large number of people had bad toasters, you could be due compensation.
There is a disadvantage, however, if you do not wish to be included. If you’ve suffered more damages than a class member is likely to get, you need to opt out and file your own suit or you’ll be held to the same level of damages as other members.
Not all parties can be found. By looking online on a regular basis at lists of suits, you can discover whether a product you have or a service you’ve used has come under a lawsuit. Perhaps you were charged extra fees for something, or felt ill after drinking a certain energy drink, or found that your new laptop battery didn’t work as long as advertised. There could be compensation.
To search for class-action suits online, put “class action lawsuits 2009” in a browser. Or, if you’ve had problems with a certain product or company, use that company name plus “lawsuit” as your search parameters.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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