Wyoming law makes product manufacturers, distributors, and sellers responsible for product defects.
If a defective product, such as a car, machinery, or household appliance, injured you or a loved one, you deserve financial recovery.
Wyoming allows injured consumers to file product liability lawsuits for design, manufacturing, and marketing defects.
Often, when you file a lawsuit against a company, they won’t want to spend the money to go to court.
Instead, they offer injured consumers and their families defective product settlements.
Because each case is different, there is no way to determine the average product liability settlement.
Instead, we’ll explain what product liability law is and what product liability settlement amounts you can expect to recover.
What Is Product Liability?
Product liability is the legal concept of holding companies accountable for the safety of the products that they sell. The product manufacturer, distributor, and seller have a responsibility for the safety of their products.
Even if the company was not negligent, they can still be held responsible when their unsafe product causes injury. A product can be defective by design, manufacture, or marketing.
A design defect occurs if a product is dangerous even when consumers use it as intended and it was manufactured correctly.
For example, imagine that a toy designed for young children includes small pieces that present a choking hazard. The design of the toy may be defective because the risk posed is inherent in the design.
A manufacturing defect occurs when the product is safe as designed but a mistake occurs in manufacturing the product.
For example, the manufacturer may not correctly connect the wires in a toaster. A fire caused by poorly connected wires may then be the result of a manufacturing defect.
Marketing Defect (Failure to Warn)
A marketing defect occurs when a company fails to warn the consumer of the dangers of using a product.
For example, a snowblower has sharp blades that may cause serious injury even if the product is used as intended and is designed and manufactured to be as safe as possible.
If the snowblower does not contain warnings about its inherent dangers, or if the seller advertised it as safe for children, those could be marketing defects.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Product Liability Claim?
If you purchased a product that injured you or someone in your household, you have four years from the date of the injury to bring a claim in Wyoming.
If your loved one died, you have two years from the date of their death to file a wrongful death claim against a company.
In addition, the estate representative can bring a survival action within four years of the injury on the deceased person’s behalf.
What Do Product Liability Settlements Recover?
A product liability lawsuit is a claim for personal injury. You cannot sue for financial harm alone. When you file a defective product claim, the defendant’s insurance company will likely offer you a settlement out of court.
A typical product liability settlement will reimburse you for economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses;
- Future and ongoing costs of care;
- Lost wages because you cannot work right now;
- Future lost income if you cannot work at the level you could before the injury;
- Repairs or replacement of damaged property (for example, a vehicle or home if damaged in the incident); and
- Other out-of-pocket costs.
If you experienced pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, or loss of enjoyment of life, these are known as “non-economic damages.”
A settlement offer from an insurance company might not properly consider these types of damages because they are more difficult to quantify.
An experienced attorney can help you negotiate for the full value of your damages, whether for a fair settlement or through a lawsuit.
What Are the Differences Between a Product Liability Lawsuit and Settlements?
In settlements, the company’s insurance offers you an amount to settle your claim out of court. Once you accept a settlement, you cannot change your mind, even if you discover further injuries later.
On the other hand, Wyoming does not limit or cap personal injury damages. If your lawsuit goes to court, your attorney can argue your case in front of a jury for the full amount of your damages.
Although product liability lawsuits take longer than settlements, you’ll have the opportunity to receive full reimbursement for the expenses and pain and suffering caused by your injury.
Further, if a jury finds that the company acted with willful and wanton misconduct in regard to the defect, they may have to pay punitive damages.
Judges award punitive damages as punishment. They are available only through a lawsuit.
Platte River Injury Law Understands Defective Product Settlements
Receiving an injury from a product you thought was safe can leave you feeling frustrated and scared. Fortunately, at Platte River Injury Law, we’ve dedicated our practice to helping Wyomingites just like you get back on their feet.
Our record shows that we’re not afraid to back down from negotiations with insurance companies and pressure them to pay the full amount of your damages.
When you call our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation, we’ll listen to your situation and share our thoughts on your legal options.
Then, we’ll take your case through negotiations with insurance companies until you receive the financial recovery you deserve.