Strict Liability

Definition - What does Strict Liability mean?

Strict liability is the act of imposing complete responsibility on a wrongdoer for the damages caused by their wrongful act without having to prove that the wrongdoer was negligent or directly at fault. Strict liability is applied to certain areas of tort law including product liability cases.

Strict liability is also called absolute liability.

Justipedia explains Strict Liability

In a personal injury lawsuit, a victim (or plaintiff) is required to prove three things:

  • That the wrongdoer (or defendant) owed a duty of care to the victim;
  • That the wrongdoer was negligent and breached his or her duty of care; and
  • That the injury suffered by the victim was caused due to the negligence of the wrongdoer.

In the activities where strict liability is applied, a plaintiff doesn't need to prove that the wrongdoer was negligent or breached the duty of care. Strict liability is commonly applied in product liability cases, and a plaintiff only needs to prove that the defective products caused injury, regardless of whether the manufacturer was negligent or not.

Greenman vs. Yuba Power Products was a product liability case in which the California Supreme Court applied strict liability, becoming the first court in the United States to do so.

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