Florida law provides a variety of rules for how the courts approach personal injuries. However, certain injuries are considered "cut-and-dried." The responsibility for such injuries is placed solely on one party under the doctrine of strict liability. These cases usually include injuries incurred from a dog bite or product defect.
If you have suffered an injury that you think may be covered by strict liability, contact the Fort Walton personal injury attorneys at Powell, Powell & Powell for assistance today.
What Is Strict Liability?
Strict liability is a doctrine — or way of doing things — that places absolute liability on the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit or claim. This is an unusual doctrine because it works much differently than normal personal injury liability.
Usually, personal injury liability concerns claims of negligence. Your attorney presents evidence to the court that the other party acted in a way that caused your injury and that party has an opportunity to use a variety of defenses to refute the claim.
The most common defense is comparative negligence. The party against which your attorney brings your claim (the defendant) will often try to say that you were also negligent somehow and that your negligence is also to blame for your injury. In Florida, this can reduce the amount of compensation you receive by a considerable amount.
Strict liability, however, removes the defense of comparative negligence. In a strict liability case, the defendant does not have a defense. If the court agrees with your claim about what caused the injury, then the other party is liable for costs related to the injury.
Dog Bites Cases and Strict Liability
The most commonly-considered strict liability cases are dog bite cases. In these cases, the dog’s owner is strictly liable for your injuries and costs arising from your injuries, including lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish and more. Florida law holds a dog's owner strictly liable for the victim's damages, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
Product Defects and Manufacturer Liability
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or been killed by a defective product, the state of Florida considers the manufacturer of the product to be strictly liable for the losses resulting from use of the product.
There are three kinds of product defects — manufacturing defect, design defect and warning defect or failure to warn.
For example, an injury caused by failing brakes is a manufacturer’s defect. On the other hand, a car that doesn’t have adequate protection around its gas tank that explodes on impact is a design defect. An example of failure to warn may be if a four-wheeler or other recreational vehicle rolls over and kills someone, but the vehicle didn’t come with warnings to be cautious of tipping.
In these cases, the manufacturer is able to ensure safety, insure against defects and spread the costs of the injuries better than the consumer -- so they are held strictly liable.
If any of these cases sound similar to what happened to you or a loved one, please contact our personal injury attorneys immediately.