In short, the key difference between strict liability and negligence is that strict liability does not require proof of negligence on the part of the defendant, while a negligence-based case does require proof.
Whether it’s a slip and fall accident, a car accident, or another kind of personal injury case, it’s important to know if you were injured due to the actions or inaction of another person.
As the claimant, you must know whether you have a strict liability or negligence-based case, what that means, and how it affects your lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer can determine and explain all of these things based on the specific circumstances of your case. Reach out to our office today for your personalized case evaluation with a member of our team.
What Is Strict Liability?
Strict liability is a legal doctrine that imposes liability on a defendant without fault. There are no elements of fault; all that must be proven is injury or damage caused by something else (for example, a defective product).
However, note that in some jurisdictions and situations, a finding of negligence may also be sufficient to establish strict liability.
When Does Strict Liability Apply?
For strict liability to apply:
- The injured party must be directly harmed by an act or omission (not just indirectly),
- The act or omission must be independent of any other person’s negligence (it can’t be caused by some third party’s action), and
- The defendant’s conduct must have been foreseeable (i.e., reasonable).
Strict liability can apply to a variety of parties in different situations. For example, manufacturers may be held strictly liable for the injuries their products cause. Landlords may also be held strictly liable for injuries that occur due to defects on their property.
Business owners and professionals are often subject to claims of negligence, but they could also face strict liability claims if they fail to warn consumers about certain dangers associated with using their products or services.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal term that refers to the failure to use reasonable care when engaging in an activity. Negligence can be broken down into three categories:
- Carelessness: any careless act that results in injury or damage
- Improper actions: any action that does not conform to what would be expected of a reasonable person
- Failure to take action: when there is an obligation to act, but no action is taken
Types of Negligence
An important distinction to keep in mind when discussing negligence is the difference between active and passive negligence. In most cases, the cause of harm is either an action or a non-action (an omission).
For instance, if you get into a car accident because you failed to stop at a red light, then you are liable for your lack of vigilance (active negligence). However, if a property owner is notified of a dangerous condition on their property and does nothing to address it, then there is no one at fault (passive negligence).
The Elements of Negligence In A Personal Injury Case
To establish a negligence claim, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This is the standard of care that people should follow when they are engaging in activities that could reasonably be expected to cause harm to others.
The elements of negligence include:
The defendant owed you a duty of care. In many cases, this is easy to prove because it’s obvious that everyone has a duty not to intentionally hurt others or engage in reckless behavior that could cause injuries.
The defendant breached their duty by failing to do what would have been considered reasonable under the circumstances. For example, you consume alcohol at a friend’s party, but still decide to drive home and cause an accident and injuries on the way, instead of walking or calling a sober friend for a ride.
The breach caused the injury; if there hadn’t been any breach at all, then there wouldn’t have been any injury either.
While it may seem straightforward, establishing negligence can be a tricky process. A negligence lawyer in Nevada can guide you through it.
Key Terms To Know
Other forms of negligence may apply in a Nevada personal injury case:
- Gross negligence: A heightened degree of negligence for cases where the at-fault party acted with no regard for the injured person.
- Comparative negligence: A legal defense that can be used when both parties are found at fault for the accident to some extent. Individuals found 50% or less at fault will be able to pursue some compensation for their losses.
- Negligence per se: A type of negligence that occurs when a person breaks a statute (law) that was designed to protect against the accident. A car accident caused by speeding would be an example.
A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help you determine what type of negligence applies in your case.
How Strict Liability Affects Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
The most common types of personal injuries include:
In a slip and fall case, the victim would usually have to show that the property owner was negligent in maintaining a walking area where there was a danger or hazard (for example, a broken or uneven section of the floor).
However, if you were injured as a result of tripping over someone else’s dog who was running around unsupervised in a place frequented by people (the main entrance, for instance), then you may be able to bring a strict liability claim against the pet owner for damages resulting from your injuries.
In some states, doctors are held strictly liable when they cause injury to patients through medical malpractice. This means that if your doctor makes even one mistake during treatment or diagnosis—even if it doesn’t cause permanent damage—you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries under this theory.
What Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
The term “personal injury” refers to any type of loss or damage suffered by an individual that was caused by the fault of another person. Personal injury lawyers help injured people recover compensation for their losses, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
A personal injury attorney can help you simplify your case by taking over all of its hassles and leg work. They can file paperwork, communicate with insurers, provide legal advice, and advocate on your behalf.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s carelessness or negligence—even if it was totally unintentional—you may be entitled to recover compensation from them.
Contact A Nevada Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers can fight on your behalf and guide you throughout your case. Our priority is to see you compensated for your injuries and uphold your rights.
Our team of lawyers can help you determine whether to file a strict liability or negligence-based lawsuit and explain how that impacts the process going forward. We’ve represented hundreds of clients across Nevada, and we’re confident we can help you too. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.