Legal Liability: FAQ

What does strict liability mean?

Some persons or companies may be held “strictly liable” for certain activities or products that harm others, even if it can’t be shown they acted negligently or with intent. This theory is important because it protects the community from dangerous products or activities and provides relief for injuries. Strict liability is applied to two different situations which the public should be made aware. These are strict products liability and liability for people engaged in “ultra hazardous activities.”

Strict products liability is applied against merchants of a product who sell abnormally dangerous products. A product may be abnormally dangerous because there is a defect it its design such as a faulty brake pedal, or simply because it lacked adequate warnings. A product may also be abnormally dangerous because of a manufacturing defect which resulted in a single defective product entering the stream of commerce. An example of this is a soda bottle entering the stream of commerce that contains a glass shard. In either case, both the manufacturer and merchant are liable for the sustained injuries that were foreseeable at the time the product was designed and manufactured. It is important to note, casual sellers of products such as those who host garage sales will not be strictly liable as merchants.

Strict liability is also used to protect the public from ultra hazardous activities. An ultra hazardous activity is one that involves a risk of serious harm which cannot be eliminated by the exercise of utmost care. Classic examples of ultra hazardous activities include blasting using dynamite or keeping wild animals. The person who engages in an ultra hazardous activity will be liable for all damage and injuries resulting from the activity regardless of whether they took every single possible precaution imaginable. 

If you have been injured by a defective product or as the result of an ultra hazardous activity, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Injury claims are limited by a state’s statute of limitations and failure to file within this period may result in the forfeiture of your claim. 

What is premises liability?

The term "premises liability" generally refers to accidents that occur due to the negligent maintenance or unsafe or dangerous conditions upon property owned by someone other than the accident victim. Many states have laws that generally require landowners to maintain their property in a manner that does not cause injury to those that, for various reasons, visit the property. Often, these laws pertain to both business owners and homeowners. In many states, property owners and business establishments have been found to have a duty to provide a safe environment for individuals on their premises.

If you are injured because a property owner or a business establishment fails to provide a safe environment, you may have a right to bring a claim for various damages incurred due to your injury. In many states, these damages include pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. Premises Liability cases involve injuries sustained on the property or premises of a negligent third party. These types of cases often involve slip and fall accidents, which usually occur when a defective condition, foreign substance or object causes a fall. Crucial to settlement recovery is being able to show how long the defect or substance was there, how visible it was, and how much notice the owner had of the dangerous condition before the accident happened.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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