In a personal injury case, liability is the legal responsibility for damages sustained by an injury victim. Strict liability means a party is held liable for damages even though they may not have acted negligently in causing the victim’s injuries. Strict liability applies in several types of personal injury cases.
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What Are the Legal Elements of an Injury Claim Involving Strict Liability?
General negligence is the basis for most personal injury cases. Winning your case requires you to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care and they breached that duty of care. Then, you must prove that the breach of duty caused your injury and you sustained damages.
Negligence relies on proving that the party failed to use reasonable care to avoid causing injury. However, holding a party strictly liable means they can be responsible for damages even though they took reasonable care to prevent harming or injuring someone. In a strict liability case, you do not need to prove that the party acted negligently to recover damages.
Examples of strict liability claims in Kentucky include:
Product Liability Claims
Strict liability generally applies in defective product cases:
- Manufacturing defects are caused by a flaw or mistake made during the manufacturing process. The defect results in the product being dangerous to use, even when used for its intended purpose. Specific lots of the products could be defective.
- Design defects mean the product is inherently dangerous to use because of a defect in its design. Therefore, every product produced according to the design will be defective.
- Failure to warn claims allege that the manufacturer or seller failed to include proper warnings about a product’s dangers/side effects or how to use the product.
Strict liability does not apply in every product liability case. Even if strict liability applies, you have the burden of proving that the product was defective and that the defect resulted in your injury. Furthermore, if you were negligent, your negligence could impact the recovery of damages under comparative negligence laws.
Kentucky Dog Bite Claims
In other words, you do not need to prove that the dog owner was negligent or the dog was a dangerous or vicious animal to recover damages. You only need to prove the dog bit you, thereby causing injuries and damages.
However, Kentucky’s comparative negligence laws apply in dog bite cases. For example, you provoked the dog or were trespassing at the time of the dog attack. If the jury decides that your actions were partially to blame for the dog bite, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Abnormally Dangerous Activities
These activities are unreasonably dangerous and have a high degree of risk of injury to other people. You do not need to prove that the defendant was negligent in these cases. The parties are strictly liable even if they use reasonable care.
Examples of a defendant’s activity that would be considered abnormally dangerous include:
- Keeping wild animals
- Storing explosives
- Digging trenches and canals
- Containment of radioactive emissions
- Demolition and blasting work
- Crop dusting, fumigating, and other mass use of pesticides or poisons
- Disposing of hazardous waste
The party responsible for the activity may use a high level of care to avoid an accident. However, because the activity is abnormally dangerous, the party can be held strictly liable for damages, regardless of the amount of care they take to avoid injuries.
Recovering Damages in Strict Liability Claims
Examples of the types of damages you could receive include:
- Loss of income and benefits
- Medical bills and expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Nursing care and personal care
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Diminished earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Scarring and disfigurement
- A decrease in your quality of life
The value of a strict liability claim depends on how severely your injuries impact your life. Catastrophic injuries and disabling conditions typically increase how much a case is worth. However, lack of insurance, insufficient evidence, and your fault for the cause of the injury could decrease the value of your claim.
A Lexington personal injury lawyer will diligently document your damages to maximize the value of your injury claim. They’ll thoroughly investigate the case to gather and preserve evidence to build a solid claim for full compensation of all damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Lexington Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Strict Liability Claim
Proving liability can be challenging. You must have strong evidence proving fault and causation to establish liability. An experienced legal team can help. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, KY to schedule a free consultation.