Strict liability means that a party can be found responsible for injuries or damages without proving that they were negligent (careless) nor that they intended to do harm. In a sense, they are almost “automatically” liable for the results of an action, activity or product. It is only used in certain types of personal injury cases.
The reason strict liability exists is that some types of activities require a high level of accountability, and the party responsible for them (usually a business) has to assume that accountability up front. It’s often contrasted with vicarious liability and joint liability, which are other standards for proving liability in a case.
The Two Types of Cases That Use Strict Liability
There are really only two kinds of cases where strict liability comes into play. These are:
- Extremely hazardous activities. Known as “ultrahazardous” under the law, these activities include things like handling explosives, discharging hazardous substances as pollution, spilling oil, etc. Companies that do these things know up front that they will face strict liability if something goes wrong — even if they weren’t being careless or intentionally breaking any rules. (Most personal injury cases do not involve this kind of activity, but some do.)
- Product liability. Under Georgia law, manufacturers are held to a standard of strict liability for the products they produce. In other words, if you buy a defective product and get hurt, the manufacturer is strictly liable and can be found at fault even if they weren’t careless, and even if they didn’t intentionally cut any corners. This is “part of the deal” when a company offers a product to the public: they will be held liable if it’s defective.
In some cases, strict liability may extend to the companies selling or renting out a product, not just the manufacturer itself. (Learn more about products liability here.)
What Does Strict Liability Mean for My Case?
Most personal injury cases will not use strict liability. Instead, you will have to prove negligence (carelessness), which your personal injury lawyer can help you do.
However, if you were injured or harmed by a faulty product, strict liability comes into play. Here’s what it means for your case:
- Your case may be easier to prove and, ultimately, to win
- You will still have to prove that you were injured (or suffered a loss) and that the defective product is what caused it
- In some cases, you may have to defend against the allegation that you didn’t use the product correctly or ignored labels and instructions
We Can Help You Win Your Case
Our product liability lawyers have over 20 years of experience fighting and winning cases for victims. No matter what kind of case you’re facing, or what kind of liability may be involved, we can help. Let us give you a free consultation to get you started. Fill out the form to your right, or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.