In most instances, when you’ve been hurt by someone else’s actions, any monetary damages will be recovered under a legal theory of negligence-essentially, you must show that the person failed to act as a reasonable person would, and caused you to suffer actual losses as a consequence. There are, however, situations where you don’t have to prove negligence. These situations are governed by what is known as strict, or absolute, liability.
The Principle of Strict Liability
The legal principle of strict liability starts with the assumption that there are certain activities that are inherently dangerous and that anyone who chooses to engage in those types of activities must assume the risk of potential injury. In a claim based on strict liability, you typically have two show only two things-the defendant was engaged in an activity covered by strict liability, and you suffered an injury as a result.
As a general rule, those actions that are covered by strict liability concepts are set forth in statutes. Here are a few of the most common types of activities governed by strict liability:
- Ownership or possession of undomesticated, wild or dangerous animals—this typically applies when someone owns an unusual animal, such as a bobcat, lion, snake or other untamed animal. It can, however, apply to domesticated animals, such as dogs, where the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s inclination for aggressive behavior. Strict liability has also been used in cases involving injuries caused by horses.
- The sale, distribution, transportation or manufacture of explosives, including fireworks
- Engaging in any activity involving hazardous materials, such as chemicals, hazardous waste or highly inflammable substances
- Certain types of product design, manufacture and marketing
Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates
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