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What is a Strict Liability?

Home » FAQs » What is a Strict Liability?
April 26, 2020

Strict liability is the legal way of saying, “It is what it is,” and that it doesn’t matter what the intent or purpose was when it came to thinking or justification. If someone dashed across three lanes of heavy traffic, it doesn't matter how important making their exit was at the time. Strict liability exists to establish a clear and non-negotiable expectation for manufactures, animal owners, drivers, and more.

While there are some ways to argue against strict liability, most of the time, the defense from the accused person is just a delay in an insurance claim. It's frustrating for everyone involved, but especially for the victims in that, they are often left for weeks or months without the compensation that they need from the damages caused by this other person. In cases like this, it can be a good idea to consult an experienced Cincinnati personal injury attorney.

Traffic Offenses

Although nearly all traffic laws invoke strict liability, the right of way law is the most notable. There are clear times when someone has the “right of way," and that's not negotiable. What happens in these cases is that whoever has violated the right of way is responsible for all manner of issues that stem from that violation.

For example, if someone ran a red light, then they did not have the right of way. Now, if they hit a car in the intersection, that is their fault. Then if the driver and a passenger died, they are also liable for those deaths, under strict liability from the right of way law. Those types of approaches to the law are often the easiest to understand and explain because it's very direct.

Strict liability applies throughout the traffic court on the basis that intent has no place. It simply does not matter what happened. That driver didn't intend to run the red light. They were trying to make the yellow. Or, that driver didn't intend to change lanes without checking their blind spot, they just didn’t see anything in their mirrors.

Manufacturing and Construction

Strict liability in product law gets a little more descriptive. Manufacturers, builders, and so forth must all do their due diligence to ensure that areas are safe and that products are not defective. What happens here is the protection of the public. The idea that there is strict liability means that intent again, does not play a part in waiving liability.

Surely Play-Doh, Amazon's contracted construction team, and many other companies didn't mean to hurt their employees or their customers, but all the same, it happens.

Are Dram Shop Laws a Form of Strict Liability?

Yes, dram shop laws, or the laws which make a bar responsible for stopping people from leaving their establishment and then driving drunk. It leaves the businesses liable only if they sold or gave alcohol to the person, the defendant, who then caused a drunk driving accident.

Why Does Strict Liability Exist?

Strict liability exists to establish clear rules. Where personal liability relies on personal judgment, and property liability relies on homeownership, strict liability goes a step further. It means that no matter what other circumstances or the intent. That's the big-ticket item intent because, in many cases, a person could simply say that they didn't mean for it to happen.

A person surely didn't mean for their dog to bite their friend or small cousin. Just the same that doctors don't usually intend to leave medical instruments in a patient, and pharmacists don't intend to provide the wrong medication to someone. We're all people, and professionals, drivers, and normal people make mistakes all the time. An honest mistake, though, still doesn't undo the damage that happened. Someone is responsible for the damage and that someone could, and is likely, a business owner, driver, or animal owner.

Do Strict Liability Issues Call for an Ohio Personal Injury Attorney?

Strict liability often comes into play in criminal law in which a person is held liable for their actions regardless of intent. But, it also becomes an aspect of civil cases as well. With wrongful death cases from traffic accidents, for example, the intent will often be given high levels of consideration, but what it eventually comes down to is that someone caused the death through a traffic offense.

At Young, Reverman, and Mazzei, we have a host of team members that are attorneys for personal injury cases that often involve strict liability. As strict liability plays a major role in personal injury or tort law, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your case to show what happened and to fight for your compensation.

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