Accidents are traumatic events, irrespective of the seriousness of the injuries.

Apart from physical injuries, accidents tend to cause serious psychological harm.

Conditions like this may interfere with a victim’s day-to-day life.

There are many reasons why a victim doesn’t legally pursue the at-fault party.

One of them is a lack of legal knowledge.

Fortunately, this can be overcome with the help of a lawyer.

Discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer to learn more about how you can seek compensation for your injuries.

Hiring a lawyer has its advantages.

Among the many pros, the most important one is finding liability.

But it isn’t easy.

It gets even trickier when multiple parties are involved.

This article talks about strict liability, a small part of a personal injury claim.

Read on to find out more.

Definition of Strict Liability

Strict liability is a theory that states that, irrespective of the defendant’s intentions, they are responsible for the crime they committed.

The concept of negligence doesn’t apply when strict liability is considered. Strict liability only applies to certain crimes and tort cases.

According to strict liability, if an accident happens even after the plaintiff follows all the safety guidelines, the defendant can be held liable.

Where is Strict Liability Applicable?

The strict liability theory usually comes into play in 3 types of personal injury cases. They are:

  1. Animal bites (only in select states)
  2. Manufacturing defects
  3. Extremely dangerous activities

The role of strict liability in each of the above-mentioned cases is explained below.

Animal Bites

Currently, 38 jurisdictions use the strict liability theory in dog bite cases. The 38 jurisdictions include 37 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the theory, the owner of the pet should be held responsible if/when the pet attacks someone.

The argument here is that animals lack conscience, and it’s their owner’s responsibility to make sure they don’t attack anyone.

There are valid counterarguments as well. In some jurisdictions, the “one-bite” rule comes into play.

According to the “one-bite” rule, the owner will only be liable if they knew the violent tendencies of their pet and decided to ignore them.

In animal bite cases where strict liability is considered, the victim must prove the following elements.

  1. The victim was injured by the animal bite
  2. The animal wasn’t provoked by the victim
  3. The victim didn’t trespass on the animal owner’s property
  4. The victim wasn’t breaking any laws

Another instance where strict liability applies is when the defendant owns wild animals.

Owners of wild animals will be held liable even if the animal isn’t dangerous.

Defective Products

Strict liability will be applicable in cases where the victim was injured due to a product’s manufacturing defect(s).

In cases like this, the victim doesn’t need to prove the manufacturer’s role in their injury.

Instead, the victim must prove that:

  1. They used the product as intended by the manufacturer
  2. They were harmed by a defect in the product
  3. The defect in the product made it dangerous

Once the victim proves their role in the accident, they can use any of the following theories to seek compensation.

  • Defective product design
  • Negligent/misleading marketing
  • Lack of warning about the side effects of the product

A point to consider is that product liability isn’t restricted to the individual who brought the product.

Bystanders or individuals with no direct relationship with the owner can seek compensation if they were injured due to the defective product.

Extremely Dangerous Conditions/Activities

Dangerous activities are prone to accidents and injuries.

So are hazardous conditions.

Strict liability is considered when an individual is injured in any of the aforementioned circumstances.

Victims who are injured due to dangerous conditions or hazardous activities don’t have to prove the defendant’s negligence to seek compensation.

An example of dangerous conditions would be someone storing abnormally huge amounts of flammable liquids in their home.

When an accident happens, the person who stored the flammable liquid will be held responsible.

As for hazardous activity, the plaintiff has to prove the following elements:

  1. The defendant was engaged in the activity
  2. The plaintiff was injured due to the activity
  3. The defendant knew that the activity would cause injuries

Strict Liability Defense

The following are the common defenses used against strict liability.

  • The plaintiff knew the risks of the activity/condition but proceeded with it anyways
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Statute of Repose
  • The plaintiff was partly responsible for their injuries (applicable in contributory negligence jurisdictions)
  • The plaintiff didn’t use the product as intended
  • The plaintiff was trespassing when the animal bite happened

An experienced lawyer will tackle these defenses and prove that the defendant was responsible for the victim’s injuries.


Although strong defenses exist, strict liability is a potent tool to bring the at-fault parties under the strong arm of the law.

A personal injury lawyer will assist the plaintiff in proving that the injuries and damages were caused by the defendant.

The lawyer will also make sure the plaintiff receives just compensation for their losses.