When Does Strict Liability Apply in an Injury Case?

When Does Strict Liability Apply in an Injury Case?

25 August 2020
 Categories: , Blog

When a personal injury attorney thinks about how liability works in a client's case, there are normally questions that break responsibility up. The client may be partially responsible and not recover as much compensation as a consequence.

One major exception to this pattern is what's known as strict liability. In this class of cases, the defendant is entirely liable for all the harm they caused if they're responsible at all. Let's look at what strict liability is, who it applies to, and how it might apply to your case.

1. The What and Who of Strict Liability

This is a legal doctrine that applies to a limited group of activities that society deems extremely dangerous. Notably, these activities are legal. The law, however, expresses great concern about the hazards they pose, and strict liability serves as an incentive for participants to be especially careful.

Strict liability applies to nearly all licensed professions that could cause mass casualties, for example. If someone works directly in their profession with explosives, toxic substances, caustic chemicals, and other dangerous materials, they are almost certainly subject to strict liability.

Likewise, dangerous activities that are sometimes unlicensed fall into this category. If you own exotic animals that are normally recognized as pets, any injuries your adorable tigers have caused would be considered your fault. Strict liability will apply, too.

2. Implications of Strict Liability

For personal injury attorney services providers, the biggest implication is that they don't have to prove the percentage of responsibility in a case. In a normal injury claim, split responsibility can reduce your compensation. Suppose you were 20% responsible and the defendant was 80% responsible. If you sought $100,000 in compensation and won, you would only recover $80,000.

Another major implication is that most cases are very binary. Either the defendant's actions led to your injuries or they didn't. Consider the difference between a slip-and-fall incident and someone injured by debris from a controlled explosion. If you fell on a wet patch while running in a store, the fact that you were running would negatively impact your case.

Conversely, it doesn't matter if you were doing the most reckless thing imaginable if you were injured by debris because no one had told you to vacate a sideway across from a blast area. The licensed contractor handling the controlled explosion is strictly liable, and they will have to pay up. Fortunately, there's a good chance they're also well-insured.

If you need help with your case, contact local personal injury attorney services.