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What Is Strict Liability?

In the law, strict liability is a type of liability that does not require proof of intent or negligence. Liability refers to the obligation to pay compensation for damages or losses. There are three main types of liability: strict liability, vicarious liability, and contributory liability. Strict liability is the most straightforward type of liability because if damages occur, the liable party is automatically responsible.

Strict liability It is often used in cases where the consequences of an action are particularly severe, such as when someone is injured by a dangerous product. In these cases, the company that manufactured the product can be held strictly liable for any damages that occur. This means that even if the company took all possible precautions to prevent the product from causing harm, it can still be held responsible if someone is injured. This type of liability protects consumers by ensuring that companies are held accountable for their products. It also provides an incentive for companies to be more careful in their design and testing of products.

what is strict liability in texas
Strict Liability: What Is It and When Does it Apply?

How Is Strict Liability Determined in Texas?

When it comes to strict liability, evidence and facts are key in determining whether or not someone can be held legally responsible. In general, strict liability applies when there is a failure to meet safety standards that results in harm or damage. This means that even if someone did not intend to cause harm, they can still be held liable if their actions resulted in an accident or injury. To prove strict liability, it must be shown that the defendant failed to meet the relevant safety standards and that this failure led directly to the plaintiff's injuries. In some cases, expert testimony may be necessary to establish causation. Ultimately, the goal is to show that the defendant's negligence resulted in the plaintiff's injuries, and that these injuries could have been prevented if the defendant had acted differently.

What Type of Personal Injury Cases Involve Strict Liability?

Abnormally Dangerous Activity

In Texas, an abnormally dangerous activity is an activity that (1) is not common, and (2) naturally involved a foreseeable and highly significant risk of physical harm even, when reasonable care is utilized. Our state imposes strict liability for ultra-hazardous activities as this category of activities, when not performed safely, often cause catastrophic injuries, such as broken bones, crush injuries, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, burn Injuries, or result in a wrongful death. This means that if you engage in an activity that is deemed to be abnormally dangerous, you will be held liable for any damage or injury that results, even if you took all reasonable precautions.

Some examples of activities that are considered abnormally dangerous in Texas include; storing explosives, blasting or explosive demolition activities, disposing hazardous chemical wastes, production or containment of radioactive emissions,, operating heavy machinery, and working with high-voltage electricity. If you are found to have engaged in one of these activities and someone is injured as a result, you could be facing significant legal consequences. If you are a victim of an accident that you believe resulted from a company engaging in an abnormally hazardous activity then you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Defective Products

Normally, when pursuing a product liability claim in Texas, the claimant must show the seller, distributor, or manufacturer, failed to act as a reasonable person would have in that specific circumstance. However, in a case strict liability, the defendant is automatically help legally responsible for what occurred.

To hold a defendant strictly liability in a products liability case, the plaintiff must prove;

  • The product or good in question was sold in the marketplace in a condition that is considered “unreasonably dangerous”,

  • When the product or good was sold, the seller or distribute had knowledge of its defects, and

  • The plaintiff was injured or harmed by the defective product.

There are three types of defects that can be used to prove strict liability: manufacturing defects, design defects, and warning defects. If a plaintiff can show that one of these types of defects was present in a product, they may be able to recover damages from the manufacturer or seller under this legal theory. An example of a defective product includes the current hair straightener lawsuit against Loreal for the items cancer-causing agents. Texas law also allows for punitive damages in cases where the manufacturer or seller knew about the defect but failed to warn consumers. As a result, it is important for companies to carefully inspect their products for any potential defects before putting them on the market.

Animal Attacks

Texas is well known for its "one bite rule" when it comes to dogs. This rule basically states that a dog owner is strictly liable if their dog bites someone and has bitten someone previously, regardless of whether or not the dog has previously shown aggression. The one-bite rule applies to both public and private property. In other words, if your dog bites someone while you're out on a walk, you could be held liable. This rule applies even if the victim was trespassing on the owner's property at the time of the attack. This means that Texas residents can be held responsible for their actions, even if they didn't mean to cause harm.

The Purpose of Automatic Responsibility In Tort Law

The purpose of strict liability in tort law is to encourage caution and safety in situations where there is a high risk of injury. By making individuals and companies automatically liable for damages in certain scenarios, it discourages them from engaging in dangerous behavior. This theory is based on the idea that people will take more precautions if they know they will be held liable for any resulting injuries. In many cases, strict liability is necessary to protect consumers as a matter of public policy. It acts as an incentive for companies to make sure that their products and behavior are safe. If you believe you have been injured by an activity covered by strict liability, you should speak to an attorney.

How Does This Legal Theory Differ From Negligence?

There key difference between strict liability and negligence is intent. With strict liability, the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant intended to cause harm in order to recover damages. This is often the case with products liability claims, where the manufacturer may be held liable even if there was no intention to produce a dangerous product. With negligence, on the other hand, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant knew or should have known that their actions could result in harm. This is the more common type of liability, as it applies to most accidents and injuries. Whether an accident is covered by strict liability or negligence will depend on the specifics of each case. In personal injury injury and tort law, once either standard of liability is proven, person that engaged in the actions or inaction is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from an activity and must compensate the victim for their degree of economic and non-economic damages.

Defenses To Strict Liability

The most common defenses to claims of strict liability are; assumption of risk, statute of limitations, statute of repose, and a general denial.

Assumption of the risk

The legal concept of "assumption of the risk" has been around for centuries and is still regularly invoked in personal injury lawsuits today. In general, the doctrine provides that if a plaintiff voluntarily chooses to engage in an activity that he or she knows is dangerous, then the plaintiff cannot recover damages from the defendant if he or she is injured as a result of that activity. For example, if you choose to go rock climbing without any safety gear, and you fall and are injured, you cannot sue the owner of the climbing wall for your injuries under a negligence or strict liability theory.

Statute of Limitations

In personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is the legal deadline for filing a tort-related lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations expires, the injured person can no longer sue for damages in a tort claim. The statute of limitations varies depending on the type of case and the state in which it is filed, but it is typically two to three years from the date of the accident. There are a few exceptions to this general rule, but none of which generally apply in cases involving strict liability.

Statute of Repose

Similar to the statute of limitations, the statute of repose prevent the filing of lawsuit after a certain time has passed. The difference between the statute of repose and the statute of limitations is that the statute of repose sets an absolute deadline for filing a lawsuit, regardless of when the injury occurred. In other words, the statute of repose is a "hard" deadline, while the statute of limitations is a "soft" deadline. The most important difference between the two is that, if an injury occurred before the statute of repose deadline, the plaintiff will never be able to sue no matter how long they wait, even if they didn't discover the injury until after the deadline.

General Denial

In a strict liability claim, another legal defense would be a defendant successfully arguing that the incident took place without any contributory action or inaction by the defendant. For example, in the instance of products liability, a company or manufacturer might argue that the incident took place because the plaintiff was misusing a product and the their failure to use the item properly caused his or her injuries. In some cases, this argument may be successful in avoiding strict liability. However, it is important to note that courts will often look to the underlying cause of the incident when determining whether strict liability applies. As such, even if a defendant is able to successfully argue that the incident was not their fault, they may still be held liable if the court determines that the underlying cause of the incident was something that they could have reasonably foreseen or prevented.

Contact Our Texas Personal Injury Attorneys For A Free Consultation

Strict liability can be difficult to understand. Our personal injury lawyers review your case to determine whether strict liability might apply. Contact our Texas personal injury law office to schedule a free consultation. You can also call us at 866-434-0014, or fill out our quick contact form and we'll contact you immediately.


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Jordan Still033-Edit- WEB VERSION Chris
Personal Injury Case Manager
Personal Injury Receptionist
Attorney Niles Sneed - Personal Injury Lawyer
Attorney Brit Mitchell - Personal Injury Lawye




Premises Liability Settlement

August 2023


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