The Montana legislature is considering a proposal that would alter the standard for product liability lawsuits, making it more difficult for an injured consumer to obtain compensation for damages caused by a defective product.
If passed, House Bill 486 would require injured consumers to prove that a manufacturer or seller of a product acted with “reckless disregard” for the safety of the consumer in order to be eligible for compensation. This is a higher standard than the current requirement, which only requires a consumer to prove that a product was defective and caused the injury.
Proponents of the bill argue that the current standard creates an environment of litigation that puts an undue burden on businesses and discourages innovation. They contend that by requiring consumers to prove reckless disregard, the bill will ensure that only those who have been truly wronged will be able to obtain compensation.
Opponents of the bill argue that it is an attempt to weaken the rights of consumers and make it more difficult for them to recover damages. They contend that the higher standard would make it difficult for an injured consumer to prove the negligence of a manufacturer or seller, particularly in cases where the product in question is complex or the injury is difficult to assess.
The bill is currently being considered by the Montana House Judiciary Committee. If passed, it could have far-reaching implications for product liability lawsuits in the state.