In some cases, the law requires that a person be held responsible for another person’s injuries — even if they didn’t do anything wrong.

Learning About Strict Liability

Personal injury cases can be challenging to prove.  Not only do you have to show that you were hurt because of another person’s careless or reckless acts, but you also have to show that their actions were the direct cause of your injuries.  

In certain situations, the law allows a person or an organization to be held liable for an accident or injury even if they were not at fault.  This is known as strict liability.  If the evidence points towards strict liability in a given case, then you will have a much easier time proving that the other person should be held responsible for your injuries.

Because it imposes responsibility on people regardless of wrongdoing, strict liability is limited to certain situations.  There are three primary types of strict liability personal injury cases in California: defective products, dog bites, and extremely hazardous activities.

Defective Products

Anytime a company designs, manufactures, or distributes a defective product, it can be held responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of the defect.  The responsible parties in a products liability case include the actual manufacturer of the product or its parts, the wholesaler, the business that assembled the product, and even the store that sells the product.  Any of these entities could be held strictly liable for injuries caused by a defective product.

The reason that companies are held to a higher standard when it comes to defective products is because they are the only party that can make the product safe for consumers.  They are also in the unique position of being able to discover defects in their products.  Most companies purchase liability insurance to cover losses caused by defective products. For these reasons, companies that sell, manufacture, assemble, or design defective products may be held strictly liable for injuries that result from the product’s defects.

Strict liability is only imposed when a product is sold in the ordinary course of business.  This means that if you buy a defective product used on Craigslist or at a thrift shop, the company will not be held strictly liable. However, companies are held strictly liable to people other than the person who purchased it, as long as (1)  the product was used in the way it was intended (or in a way that the company could have foreseen) and (2) the person who was injured was a reasonably foreseeable victim of the defective product.  For example, if a person purchases a flying toy to be used by children aged 10 and above and a younger child uses the toy and is injured due to a defect in the product, the company will likely be responsible for the child’s injuries.  A skilled products liability lawyer can help you assess whether or not a company will be held strictly liable for defects in a product.

Dog Bites

In addition to defective products, owners of dogs who bite or attack other people are held strictly liable for the victim’s injuries.  California law provides that as long as the victim did not provoke the dog, then the victim does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or that the owner knew that the dog was dangerous to recover damages.  This makes it substantially easier to recover for injuries related to dog bites—as in many cases, the owner may not have known that their dog would bite someone.

Extremely Hazardous Activities

Some activities are just so inherently dangerous that a person who engages in them will be held strictly liable if anyone is hurt.  This is because these activities present an extremely high, unreasonable risk of harm no matter what precautions are taken.  Even if a person uses a reasonable level of care, he or she will still be liable for any injuries resulting from extremely hazardous activities.  Examples of these activities include using explosives, storing hazardous chemicals, and fumigation.

If you have been injured in any type of accident — including by a defective product, hazardous activity, or a dog bite — you will need a tough, smart lawyer to help make sure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.  Contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker today at 800-333-0000 or to learn more about how we can help you recover under a theory of strict liability or negligence.  We have years of experience handling cases on behalf of our clients, and we will fight to make sure that your legal rights are protected. Consultations are always free, and we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you!