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What is strict liability?

In product liability cases, a special legal doctrine applies called strict liability. While Tampa, Florida residents may have heard of this phrase, they may not know exactly what it means.

The good news is that strict liability serves to protect injured victims from having to prove that a manufacturer or business which sold the product acted carelessly when doing so. Proving a manufacturer’s negligence would, for the average person, be very difficult even with the very best legal team.

On the other hand, one should not confuse strict liability with what might be called absolute liability or automatic liability. In order to get compensation for injuries, the victim of a dangerous product will have to prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous. After all, just about any product can be dangerous under certain circumstances.

Likewise, a victim will have to show the product was being used in a way that was intended. To give an extreme example, one could not claim strict liability if he got hurt by using a chainsaw to shave, as that would clearly not be an intended use.

In some cases, however, whether a product was being used as intended is a close question, as mishandling a product or using it in an unorthodox manner does not mean the use was outside the scope of what the manufacturer contemplated.

There are other complexities and nuances to strict liability and products liability law which victims should discuss with an attorney. The good news, though, is that the law offers protection to those who have been hurt by dangerous or defective products.