Can Someone be Liable Without Negligence or Intent to Cause Harm?

Injured man consults a personal injury attorneyPersonal injury claims are usually decided on the basis of negligence or intent to cause harm. We have written about how to prove negligence in personal injury cases, but what if the person who injured you displayed neither negligence nor intent to hurt you? While every case is different and it is important to consult an Illinois personal injury lawyer, there are some cases in which you may be able to initiate a claim without evidence of negligence or intent. It falls under the umbrella of “strict liability.”

What is Strict Liability?

Strict liability refers to circumstances in which a person or entity is legally responsible for damages regardless of intent or negligence. Some examples include:

  • Injuries From Defective Products – To initiate a personal injury claim after being hurt by a defective product, three conditions typically have to exist:
    • The product has an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused you harm, whether as a result of the product’s design, manufacture, or handling by the manufacturer.
    • The product caused you harm while it was being used in the manner in which it was intended to be used.
    • The product has not been substantially changed from its original condition, meaning that it performs as it should.
  • Injuries Caused by Pets – We have written about suing someone after their dog bites you, but the Animal Control Act is also relevant to other kinds of pets. Regardless of whether the owner of the animal displays negligence or intent to harm, you may be able to initiate a personal injury claim if the animal both caused you harm and was not provoked.  
  • Statutory Liability – This refers to liability imposed by state laws. An example is the Illinois Dram Shop law, which allows a third party to initiate a personal injury claim against a purveyor of alcoholic beverages if they can demonstrate that:
    • The purveyor sold or gave alcohol to a patron who caused the injury.
    • The patron injured a third party.
    • The sale or gift of alcohol was the proximate cause of the patron’s intoxication.
    • The patron’s intoxication was at least one cause of the third party’s damages.
  • “Ultrahazardous” Activities – An ultrahazardous activity is an act that is so inherently dangerous that the person performing it may be held liable for injuries that result to other people, regardless of the existence of negligence or intent. Examples of ultrahazardous activities include using and storing explosives, activities involving radioactive materials, and controlled burning of buildings or fields.

Contact Rubens and Kress if You Have Been Injured

An experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer is a crucial resource if you wish to receive compensation after you have been hurt by someone. Rubens and Kress is a Chicago law firm with a track record of success, and we will charge no fee unless you collect. To explore your legal options, contact Rubens and Kress online, at (312) 201-9640, or toll-free at (866) 890-9640.