To bring a successful claim for negligence in Wyoming a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, that the defendant breached that duty, the breach of duty was the proximate cause of injury to the plaintiff and that plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
Modified Comparative Negligence
The law (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §1-1-109) in Wyoming follows a modified comparative negligence standard under which a plaintiff is not barred from recovery if he/she is found to be contributorily negligent. Rather, so long as the plaintiff’s contributory fault is not found to be more than 50% of the combined fault of all defendants, the plaintiff may recover a damages award. However, any damages awarded may be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault assigned to the plaintiff, if any.
For example, if a plaintiff is claiming $100,000 in damages and is found to be 25% at fault for their own injury, while the combined fault of defendants was found to be 75%, the plaintiff may be entitled to a total of $75,000 in damages.
If the plaintiff is found to have been 51% or more at fault, the plaintiff may be barred from recovery.
Joint & Several Liability
Joint and several liability has been abolished in Wyoming. Per Wyo. Stat. Ann. §1-1-109(e), defendant is only financially responsible for the percentage of fault attributed to each defendant (severally liable).
Compensatory damages are awarded by a court to compensate the plaintiff for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant(s). The award is meant to restore the plaintiff – as much as possible – to the condition they were in prior to the injury occurring.
Compensatory damages include reasonable expenses necessary for medical care; hospitalization and treatment; economic loss from loss of income (both past and future); pain and suffering; disability; disfigurement; and mental anguish.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant rather than to compensate the plaintiff.
Under Wyoming law, punitive damages may be awarded where the defendant acted or failed to act in reckless disregard of the consequences, and under such circumstances and conditions that a reasonable person would know, or have reason to know, that such conduct would, in a high degree of probability, result in substantial harm to another. The defendant’s conduct must be that which causes outrage, similar to that involved in criminal conduct.
The law firm of Walker Morgan is located at 135 E Main St., Lexington, SC 29072. All lawyers at Walker Morgan are licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina. Should you wish to retain our firm for legal representation regarding a potential case in any other jurisdiction we are required to associate local counsel in that foreign jurisdiction and seek permission from a court of the foreign jurisdiction to temporarily engage in the practice of law therein for purposes of pursuing your potential claim only.
By offering the following information the lawyers at Walker Morgan are not offering legal advice or legal guidance. The lawyers at Walker Morgan are not licensed to practice law in Wyoming. Should you have a question/concern specific to Wyoming law, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Wyoming.