Types of Strict Liability

Strict liability has three major categories:

1. Animals

2. Abnormally Dangerous Activities; and

3. Products Liability

Animals – Owned or Possessed

Under the Restatement (Third) there are three categories of animals in strict liability:

1. Livestock – the owner or possessor of livestock is subject to strict liability if the livestock intrudes upon the land of another and physical harm is caused by the intrusion

2. Abnormally Dangerous Animals

3. Wild Animals – A possessor of a wild animal is subject to strict liability to another for harm done by the animal to the other person’s body, land or chattels, even if the possessor has exercised the utmost care to confine the animal, or otherwise prevent it from doing harm

  • Note: Wild animals are animals that have not been generally domesticated

Abnormally Dangerous Activities

One who carries on an abnormally dangerous activitiy is subject to liability for harm to the person, land or chattels of another resulting from the activity, although he has exercised the utmost care to prevent the harm.

Examples of Abnormally Dangerous Activities are:

  1. Impoundments (noxious substances or liquids)
  2. Hazardous wastes
  3. The Superfund Act
  4. Lateral support
  5. Blasting and explosives
  6. Nuclear energy
  7. Other high-energy activities
  8. Utilities
  9. Fireworks
  10. Poisons
  • Note: For a plaintiff to recover, he must show that the defendant was carrying on in an abnormally dangerous activity that proximately caused harm to his person or property.

Products Liability

The Restatement (Third) states that a product is defective when, at the time of sale or distribution, the product contained a manufacturing defect, is defective in design, or is defective because of inadequate instructions or warnings.

  • Note: A plaintiff must prove that the product was defective, the defect existed when it left the defendant’s control, and that the defect actually and proximately caused his injury.