What is ‘strict liability’?

Strict Liabilty Legal Remedies General Practice

What is ‘strict liability’?

Strict liability is a legal doctrine that makes some persons responsible for damages their actions or products cause, regardless of any “fault” on their part.

Strict liability often applies when people engage in inherently hazardous activities, such as doing “blasting” in a city, or keeping wild circus animals. If the blasting damages you — no matter how careful the blasting company was — it is liable for the injury. Similarly if the animals escape and injure someone, the fact that the circus used the world’s strongest cages and the highest standard of care imaginable will not let it get off the hook.

Strict liability also may apply in the case of certain manufactured products. In strict product liability, typically anyone who is engaged in the stream of commence of the product (from the manufacturer to the wholesaler to the retailer, or all of them) can be held responsible if the product was defective and someone was injured. There is no need to prove negligence but the injured party must prove that the product was defective.

Defective products may be the result of bad manufacturing for the failure to provide adequate instructions for the use of the product. Those engaged in the stream of commerce with respect to products should reasonably foresee that some people will misuse the product and should design the product so that injury does not occur.

Disclaimers and waivers of liability for products are often invalidated by courts as against public policy (courts should not condone the manufacture and distribution of defective products) and typically warranties are limited so that manufacturers and retailers are held responsible for personal injuries caused by the use of the product.

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