What is a fair settlement from an accident with a defective gun in which I suffered injuries and for which the manufacturer has accepted responsibility?

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What is a fair settlement from an accident with a defective gun in which I suffered injuries and for which the manufacturer has accepted responsibility?

I recently had a Smith and Wesson 9mm hand gun explode on me due to a faulty slide. Thankfully, i didn’t lose my hand but I did have to get 3 stitches in my right forefinger, both of my hands were extremely bruised from the concussion, and I had minor shrapnel injuries to my left pinky finger and my

face. Thankfully, my sunglasses took most of the pieces, as i definitely would have had eye injuries, as well. Smith and Wesson has admitted liability and want to know how much of a settlement we would accept. We have no idea what would be fair and reasonable. Can you help us to find or figure out, a formula?

Asked on April 6, 2017 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your personal injury claim filed with Smith & Wesson's insurance carrier should include your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of wage loss.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It is determined by the facts of the case, your injury and whether you have fully recovered or have residual complaints.
If you have fully recovered without any residual complaints, I would ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering.  If you have scars from the shrapnel, I would ask for at least quintuple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering.
Do NOT expect to get those amounts from Smith & Wesson's insurance carrier.  The response will be considerably lower and you can continue negotiating to try to get their settlement offer increased.
If the case is settled with Smith & Wesson's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence and strict liability against Smith and Wesson.
Negligence is the failure to exercise due care to produce a product that is not defective.
Strict liability is liability whether or not due care was exercised.
Negligence and strict liability are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit against Smith & Wesson must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.
In addition to your claims against Smith & Wesson, you would also have the same claims against the seller (store where you purchased the gun).  The store is liable for negligence and strict liability even if it could not have known the gun was defective. 
Try to settle the case with the store's insurance carrier with the same approach discussed above for the manufacturer.  If the case is settled with the store's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the store's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit against the store for negligence and strict liability.
If the case is NOT settled, your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your will lose your rights forever in the matter.
You would file one lawsuit naming both the manufacturer (Smith & Wesson) and the seller (store) as defendants.
If the case is settled with one but not both parties, only name the party with whom the case has not settled as a defendant.
If the case has not settled with either party, name both as defendants.


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