Strictly Liability: What It Means And The Possible Defenses

Posted on: 4 November 2019


There are three forms of torts that can give rise to personal injury claims. They include intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability. Many people understand the first two better than the last one. Below is an overview of what strict liability means and the defenses it might attract.

What It Means

In many forms of personal injury claims, you need to prove that the defendant did something or failed to do something and that action or inaction led to your injuries. The defendant's action or inaction can either be negligent or intentional.

Strict liability, on the other hand, is an alternative legal theory that allows you to hold someone liable for your injury without having to prove that the person acted negligently or intentionally. You just need to prove that the actions of the defendant caused your injury.

Strict liability only applies to inherently dangerous activities or situations. For example, keeping an aggressive pet is dangerous, transporting explosives is dangerous, and manufacturing chemicals is inherently dangerous. Therefore, anyone who engages in these activities may be strictly liable for the damages that their activities might cause, even in the absence of intentional or negligent acts.

The Possible Defenses

Many people assume that strict liability is the same as automatic liability, but that is not true. You don't win an injury case simply because the situation falls under strict liability laws. In fact, there are defenses the defendant can use to avoid liability. Below are some of these defenses.

Assumption of Risk

The assumption of risk defense alleges that the plaintiff knew that an activity was dangerous but still went ahead and participated in the activity. For example, racing cars is inherently dangerous; therefore, if you get injured in a car race, you can't use strict liability to hold the race organizers liable for your damages.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations determines how long you have to file a case and apply for all injuries, including those based on strict liability. Therefore, you won't succeed with your claim if you delay and the statute of limitations expires.

Abuse or Misuse of Product

If a dangerous product caused your injury, then you must prove that you were using the product as the manufacturer intended it to be used. You don't have a product liability claim if you abuse or misuse a product and it causes you injury.

Contributory or Comparative Negligence

With this defense, the defendant is claiming that you somehow contributed to your own injuries. If the defense is successful, then the court might deny or reduce your compensation. It depends on your state laws and your percentage contribution to the accident.

For more information, call a personal injury lawyer like Carl L. Britt, Jr.