Thursday, August 26, 2004
More Bang for Your Buck: Free Money From Class Action Lawsuits
Free money could be headed your way. That is if it knew how to find you. The reason is because of hundreds of class action lawsuits settled in this country every year. In tonight's more bang for the buck, we're going to show you how to find out if the cash is coming your way.
(WSVN) -- The numbers are staggering. Class action lawsuits are settled every year in this country for millions and millions of dollars.
But even more surprising than the seven figure pay outs, a lot of those millions go uncollected because most people don't know the cases exist.
Attorney Craig Harley: If there's a case that's taken a long time to try or to get to a settlement or verdict or if there's a case that involved something that happened ten years before. It's harder to get a hold of people and find accurate records."
Herb Chestler is the beneficiary of class action lawsuit. He cashed in because not too long ago, a number of independent racecar vendors agreed to pay $5 million dollars for fixing souvenir prices.
So how much was the check?
Herb: "Approximately 3,200 hundred dollars. That's a great settlement."
Dave Eely also received a check out of nowhere. His came from his auto insurance company.
Dave Eely: "My wife called me and I said a check. I have a check for what. She said the check is for a settlement. I said a settlement? I don't remember being part of any settlement."
Eely's piece of the pie - $155. It came after the insurance company settled a $1.59 million dollar case for failing to fully reimburse policyholders involved in accidents.
Dave Eely: "No idea I was part of the lawsuit."
Now, if you'd like to find out if money should be coming your way, check your local newspaper or click online.
The site, classactionamerica.com lists over 50 cases that have been settled.
Payouts range from $500,000 dollars to $100 billion dollars.
Most of it uncollected... Waiting for qualified people to notify the attorneys.
Attorney Craig Harley: "They are saying I wished I known and we have to say we did the best we could to notify everybody."
When you get to the class action Web site, keep in mind you have to scroll down and find the products you use. Then, you enter your personal information to find out if you qualify.
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