Liability means that a party can be held financially responsible for damages. For example, a person liable for a car accident could be legally responsible for the victim’s medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of income, and other damages.
Generally, you must prove the elements of negligence to hold someone liable for damages in a personal injury case. However, if someone is strictly liable for damages, you do not need to prove negligence, fault, or intention to recover compensation for damages.
Most personal injury cases are based on general negligence. However, strict liability applies to the following types of personal injury claims:
Product Liability Claims
Product liability laws hold parties involved in selling a defective product to a consumer liable for damages caused by the product. Many product liability claims are based on strict liability.
Manufacturing defects typically qualify for strict liability. For example, suppose the manufacturer produced a defective product and placed it on the market. In that case, it can be held strictly liable for damages even if it did not intend to produce and sell a defective product.
Likewise, a breach of warranty claim is based on strict liability. For example, suppose the manufacturer or seller makes an explicit or implied warranty that a product works as intended and advertised. In that case, it can be held strictly liable for damages if the product fails to work and injures someone.
Dog Bite Cases
Florida laws hold dog owners strictly liable for damages caused by a dog bite. If the person is bitten in a public place or while lawfully on private property, the owner is strictly liable for damages if the dog bites the person. The dog does not need to have bitten someone in the past.
However, if the victim provoked the dog or is otherwise negligent, the victim’s negligence reduces the dog owner’s liability for damages. The amount of compensation the victim receives decreases by their percentage of fault.
Keeping Wild Animals
A person who keeps wild animals can face strict liability claims if the animals harm a person. The risk of injury to the public would be very high if the animal escaped. Therefore, the law places a high level of liability on the person keeping the wild animal.
There could be exceptions to the strict liability standard for government institutions and educational facilities.
Abnormally Dangerous Activities
Some activities are inherently dangerous, even when the person takes reasonable steps to protect the public from harm. Regardless of the steps the person takes, the risk to the public cannot be eliminated. These activities result in strict liability for the person engaged in the activity.
Examples of abnormally dangerous activities include:
- Digging canals
- Storing explosives
- Disposing of hazardous waste
- Demolition and blasting
- Crop dusting, mass use of poisons, and fumigating
- Production and containment of radioactive emissions
In addition to being strictly liable for physical harm, the party can be held strictly liable for financial losses and emotional damages.
Damages You Could Receive in a Strict Liability Personal Injury Claim
You can seek compensation for economic damages for strict liability claims. Those damages can include:
- Past and future medical bills
- In-home and long-term nursing care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Personal care expense
- Help with household chores
- Diminished earning capacity
You are also entitled to compensation for your non-economic damages. These damages can include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- A decrease in quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent impairment and disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
The value of your personal injury claim depends on many factors. For example, permanent impairments could increase the value of your claim. However, failing to mitigate damages and contributory fault could reduce how much money you receive for a personal injury claim.
Can I Receive Punitive Damages in a Strict Liability Claim?
Punitive damages are only awarded in a small number of cases. However, punitive damages could be justified in a strict liability case if you prove the required elements for punitive damages.
Punitive damages may only be awarded if the plaintiff can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is guilty of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Gross negligence is defined as conduct that demonstrates a conscious disregard for the safety or rights of others.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Personal Injury Lawyers
Strict liability does not automatically mean you receive money for your damages. You have the burden of proving each legal element required to win the case.
You must have sufficient evidence to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, there is more than a 50% chance your allegations are true than untrue.
With this in mind, hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your case is wise. Contact our law firm Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with an experienced injury attorney at (904) 396-1100.