What are the characteristics of the law of strict liability and strict liability torts?


A strict liability tort arises out of situations in which an individual is held responsible for causing injury or damage, regardless of fault.

The law of strict liability applies in a number of specific situations involving very hazardous activities or dangerous products. The owner or the person is subject to absolute liability for the sheer fact that they are in charge.

Applications of the Law of Strict Liability

No matter whether you have taken the necessary precautions or have not intended any harm, you are very likely to be held liable if the following situations occur:

  • You store explosives or flammable liquids and an explosion occurs, as a result of which somebody gets injured or someone else's property is damaged. The law of strict liability differs from location to location. For instance, if you live in a big city, you will most probably be held liable, whereas if you live in the countryside, strict liability may not be imposed on you.
  • You are an employer and one or more of your employees sustain occupational injuries.
  • You keep an animal that is considered wild or poisonous. This is the traditional application of the strict liability tort law. Any damage or injury caused by an animal that is not domesticated, automatically means that the owner has caused a strict liability tort. If you own such an animal, it is considered your duty to restrain them. The strict liability law does not apply to owners of cats or dogs whose pets have trespassed as a result of their owners' negligence. However, if owners of domesticated animals are found to have been aware of a certain tendency of their pets to cause any havoc or harm, and have not done anything to prevent accidents from happening, they are found guilty of committing a strict liability tort.
  • You are the manufacturer or distributor of a product which has been found to be defective, or has caused injury. In order for strict product liability to be imposed, the plaintiff has to prove that the product has a defect, that it is the defect that has directly caused the injury and that the defect has made the product very dangerous.
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