When another party causes you injury or harm, you can pursue a legal claim against the party for damages. Liability creates a legal responsibility for the party to compensate you for your injuries and damages.
Typically, most personal injury claims are based on negligence. However, some personal injury cases are based on strict liability. A strict liability case does not require you to prove negligence.
What Is Strict Liability for a Personal Injury Claim?
Strict liability holds a party financially responsible for damages even though the party did not intend to injure someone. Instead, the injured person only needs to prove that the other party’s conduct caused their injuries.
Strict liability does not mean that the party is automatically liable for damages. You must still prove specific legal elements to win the case.
What Types of Personal Injury Cases Are Based on Strict Liability?
Three common types of personal injury claims that use strict liability are:
Product Liability Claims
A party can be held strictly liable under product liability laws if a defective product injures someone. The three types of strict liability cases for defective products are:
- Design Defect – You must prove that the product had a flaw that made the product inherently dangerous to use and that flaw caused your injury.
- Manufacturing Defect – You must prove a something occurred during the manufacturing process to make the product defective and that the product caused your injury.
- Breach of Warranty – The seller or manufacturer gives an implied or explicit warranty that a product will work as advertised. However, the product caused your injury because it did not work as promised.
There are several defenses to strict liability for defective products. For example, if you used the product in a way you knew could cause injury, the manufacturer might not be liable. Likewise, the manufacturer might not be liable if you modified the product and the modification led to your injury.
Abnormally Dangerous Activities
An abnormally dangerous activity creates a highly significant risk of physical harm even if reasonable care is used to prevent harm to others. Abnormally dangerous activities include, but are not limited to:
- Blasting and demolition
- Storing and using explosives
- Disposing of hazardous substances
- Fumigating, crop dusting, and other mass use of poisons
A party can take the highest level of care to prevent injuries and harm, but they are strictly liable if an accident occurs. That is because you cannot eliminate all risks of injury for an abnormally dangerous activity regardless of the level of care exercised.
Dog Bites and Wild Animals
Owning an exotic or wild animal poses a significant risk of injury and harm to others. Therefore, a party can be held strictly liable if a wild animal causes an injury.
Some states apply strict liability to dog bite cases. Georgia dog bite laws hold dog owners strictly liable for damages their dog causes in some cases, but not all cases.
What Damages Can I Recover for a Personal Injury Claim Based on Strict Liability?
There are no special damages a person can recover because a case is based on strict liability instead of negligence. The damages are based on the facts and circumstances of the case.
- Physical pain and suffering
- Medical bills and expenses
- A decrease in quality of life
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of income, wages, benefits, and earning capacity
- Impairments and disabilities
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
As with other personal injury claims, the severity of your injuries significantly impacts the value of damages. Careful documentation of your losses and expenses can increase the value of your claim.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Strict Liability Claim?
The statute of limitations for strict liability claims depends on the type of claim being filed. For example, most product liability claims must be filed within two years of discovering the injury. The two-year statute of limitations applies in most cases involving dog bites, wild animals, and abnormally dangerous activities.
However, there are exceptions to the general statutes of limitations for cases. It is always best to talk with a Tifton personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident or injury. Waiting too long could result in losing the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Tifton Personal Injury Lawyer
Proving liability for an accident or personal injury can be challenging. Our legal team handles the investigation to gather evidence and build a solid case against the party who caused your injury. Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation with a Tifton personal injury attorney.