What is Strict Liability?

Under the legal theory of strict liability, a person is held liable, or financially responsible, for actions that result in injuries to others, even if he or she was not acting in a negligent manner. For example, Wisconsin’s dog bite statute is a strict liability statute. If your dog bites or otherwise injures another person, you are responsible for damages, or the costs of those injuries, regardless of whether you were negligent in some way or not. This means that even if your dog, whom you normally keep in a fenced-in backyard, manages to escape from the yard without your knowledge, you can be liable for any injuries that your dog causes.

Likewise, a manufacturer of a defective product may be held strictly liable for any damages that occurs as a result of the product’s use under Wisconsin law. The Omnibus Tort Reform Act distinguishes between different types of product defects: manufacturing defects, design defects, and inadequate warnings or instructions to the consumer. Manufacturing defects result when a product departs from its intended design. In order to prove that a produce is defective by its design, you must prove that there was a reasonable alternative design that would have reduced the foreseeable dangers. If the claim involves inadequate warnings or instructions, you must show that the foreseeable dangers would have been reduced by different or more reasonable warnings or instructions.

Once you have proven the product to be defective under the above standard, you must show the following in order to prove strict liability:

  • The defect made the product unreasonably dangerous to persons or property,
  • The product was in a defective condition when it left the seller’s control,
  • The product reached the consumer in the same condition it was sold in, and
  • The defect was the cause of the injuries or damages.

The experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are here to help you through the aftermath of a motor vehicle crash, including dealing with the insurance companies involved. We can look into the circumstances surrounding your accident, assess the situation, and evaluate any claims that you may have for damages. We know how to determine fault in a car accident, and build a strong personal injury claim based on that determination. Contact our office today in order to schedule a free initial consultation about any potential claim that you may have.


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