Strict Liability for Personal Injury

Most personal injury liability is determined by negligence law.  In these cases, a defendant is only liable if he or she diverged from the standard of care appropriate for the situation, and if the divergence caused the injury.  The party responsible for the injury will only be liable legally if he or she failed to exercise the duty of care expected of people in a similar situation.

However, there are some injuries that are the result of ultra hazardous or dangerous activities.  These activities are considered so dangerous that no amount of care or attention can prevent injury or danger.  As a result, the law holds people who cause injury to another as a result of conducting an ultra hazardous activity, strictly liable for the injuries.  How careful or cautious the person was in conducting the activity is irrelevant.  If someone is injured, the person engaged in the ultra dangerous activity will generally be liable. A plaintiff in a strict liability case does not have to prove the elements of a negligence case.
As a result, it is much more difficult for a defendant to defeat a strict liability case than it is for a defendant to defeat a negligence claim.
An example of an ultra hazardous activity is keeping dangerous animals.  If you have been the victim of an animal attack by an undomesticated animal, you may be able to recover damages from the owner.  Wild animals generally include animals that are not typically household pets.  Animals other than cats, dogs, birds, turtles and the like are typically considered wild animals.  Owners of these animals will be held strictly liable for any animal attack.  
Dog owners can be held liable if they have reason to know of their dog’s vicious propensities.  If a dog has bitten or attacked someone before, the owner should be aware of how dangerous the dog is, thus the animal will likely be considered dangerous and the owner will likely be held strictly liable.  In cases of dangerous animals, it does not matter how many precautions the owner takes.  Signs on gates and leashes on the animal will not factor into whether the owner is liable for the injuries caused by the animal.
Other ultra hazardous activities that charge those conducting such activities with strict liability are transporting flammable products, excavating, blasting, and manufacturing dangerous consumer products.
Posted in Personal Injury

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