A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one party, or a group of parties, sues as a representative of a larger group (the class) for similar harms. They are often used where each individual’s economic loss is too small to justify hiring a lawyer and bringing the claim individually.
No, the court will determine how to define the class and anyone who fits within that definition is automatically a class member. Note that if any money is recovered, you will be required to fill out a claim form to receive your portion of the money.
Prior to the settlement hearing, all class members will receive a notice of the settlement that outlines its parameters and indicates when the hearing will occur. The notice may also describe the steps to be followed to be excluded from the class, and may include a claim form if the settlement involves a monetary recovery.
If the parties reach a settlement, class action procedures require that a settlement hearing take place where the court will decide whether to approve the settlement. If you are a class member, you will receive notice of the settlement hearing.