What Is Strict Liability?

What Is Strict Liability?

When someone causes harm to another, the law often considers the intent behind the action. Intent refers to the mental objective that drove the incident. Typically, the law divides intent into four types: purposely, knowingly, recklessly, and negligently. Sometimes a person or entity does not intend to cause any harm, but their actions still resulted in someone’s suffering. Strict liability refers to holding a person or entity responsible, regardless of intent. Continue reading to learn more about strict liability and how it can tie into your lawsuit. 

When Does Strict Liability Apply?

Strict liability is when a person or entity is liable for injuries or damages even if they did not act with negligence. This notion can apply to criminal and civil cases. In criminal law, strict liability can relate to instances of statutory rape. Even if the perpetrator thought the individual was 18 years old or above or if it was consensual, the person can still be held accountable under strict liability. Drug possession and selling alcohol to minors can also fall under strict liability. 

In civil cases, there are two categories in which a lawsuit can hold a person or entity strictly liable: owning certain animals or engaging in dangerous activities. Furthermore, strict liability can pertain to product liability. Product liability concerns the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure its products are safe and do not cause injury. Strict product liability is a subcategory that involves defective products that injured the public. 

Difference Between Strict Liability and Negligence

Negligence is when a person or entity fails to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to others. Situations in which parties may act negligently include: 

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical malpractice 
  • Slip and fall accidents 

In these cases, attorneys must show that the defendant behaved negligently, for example, texting while driving, ignoring a hazardous spill in a busy walkway, or improperly diagnosing a disease. Both negligence and strict liability do not require any intent to harm. Therefore, a defendant can be deemed guilty in cases concerning negligence and strict liability, even if evidence determines that they did not mean to cause harm. However, strict liability does not take into consideration reasonable care. As opposed to negligence, it does not matter if a defendant took reasonable care or precautions. Strict liability simply boils down to whether the defendant caused injury or damages to another. 

Strict Liability Examples 

Strict liability can arise in a variety of situations. For instance, someone may illegally own a wild or exotic animal such as a tiger or a crocodile. If that animal hurts someone, then this counts as strict liability. Even if the pet owner restrained the wild animal or took preventative measures, this would still count as strict liability. Some states even place strict liability on dog owners if their dog bites another person. Additionally, strict liability is relevant to abnormally dangerous situations like storing explosives, disposing of chemical waste, or demolition activities. 

Finally, strict liability can weigh on product liability that involves defective products. Strict product liability occurs when a manufactured good meets safety requirements but still causes injury. If a company created a safe design, manufactured the product correctly, included adequate warning labels, and conducted proper safety trials, it can still be held accountable under strict liability. 

Proving Strict Liability 

Although strict liability does not require one to prove negligence, there are still necessary elements that someone must show to win their case. For that reason, it is advisable to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. If your lawsuit claims strict liability, you must show that person or entity’s actions, animal, or product injured you. As with any case, you will have to produce evidence in the form of lost wages, hospital bills, medical records, and any other additional proof of damages. With strict product liability, a plaintiff must also demonstrate that they used the product correctly and for its intended purpose. Finally, the consumer cannot have altered the product in any way that would have rendered it unsafe. 

How Our Law Firm Can Help You

Our attorneys are on standby to help you discern whether strict liability applies to your situation. The assistance and knowledge of an attorney at The Lake Law Firm can greatly benefit you and your potential claim. 

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 274-0139.