Strict Liability

Strict liability is a legal term of art that means an injured plaintiff does not need to prove that the negligence of a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit caused their injury. The defendant’s intent is irrelevant, and they can be held liable even if they acted reasonably under the circumstances.

Strict liability often applies to product liability cases. If a defective product injures someone, they must prove that the product was defective after it left the defendant’s possession, that they used the product properly, and that it caused their injury. They don’t need to prove a breach of duty of care or intentional conduct. 

In this article, we discuss strict liability in Nevada. 

How Do You Prove Strict Liability in a Product Liability Case? 

How Do You Prove Strict Liability in a Product Liability Case?

Products offered for use by consumers should be safe. In other words, consumers who purchase products should be able to do so with the confidence that such items will not cause them injury. 

To help protect consumers from the dangers presented by defective products, the state of Nevada imposes a strict liability standard for product liability lawsuits. Companies, including distributors, retailers, marketers, manufacturers, and other parties that are involved in the production process, may be held strictly liable in a personal injury lawsuit when a dangerous product injures a consumer. 

To succeed under a theory of strict liability in Nevada, an injured party must prove the following elements: 

  • A product was defective due to its design, manufacturing, or a company’s failure to provide a proper warning to consumers about the dangers posed by the product 
  • The product defect was in existence when the product left the possession of the defendant in the case
  • The plaintiff used the product in a way that was reasonably foreseeable
  • The product defect was the cause of the plaintiff’s injury

In typical personal injury cases, you must prove intent or negligence. However, in a product liability case based on strict liability, the defendant can be liable even if they weren’t negligent.

What Kinds of Products Can Cause Injuries? 

Many types of products can subject a company to strict liability in a personal injury lawsuit, ranging from medications to auto parts. As noted above, Nevada operates under a system of strict liability for products that injure consumers, which means that a party who is injured by a defective product does not have to prove negligence to recover financial compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. 

Due to this, the types of products that may be subject to strict liability are practically endless. 

Common types of products that result in injuries include: 

  • Motor vehicles
  • Auto parts
  • Appliances
  • Heavy machinery
  • Toys
  • Electronic devices
  • Construction devices and equipment
  • Automobile tires
  • Medical equipment
  • Strollers
  • Grills
  • Cribs
  • Prescription medications

Strict liability is not available to a plaintiff if their injury was a result of product misuse. However, if a plaintiff’s misuse of a product was reasonably foreseeable by the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, then strict liability may still be an option. 

In other words, if a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit should have been able to reasonably foresee that their product would be used in a manner other than was intended, a plaintiff may still be entitled to collect damages under a theory of strict liability. 

Ultra-Hazardous Activities and Strict Liability 

In the state of Nevada, a party who undertakes an abnormally dangerous activity—also called an ultra-hazardous activity—is liable for any harm it causes to a person as a result of that activity—even if a high degree of care was exercised by the party while conducting the activity. 

If, based on the examination of certain factors, a court determines that a defendant’s activity was ultra-hazardous, the defendant will be found strictly liable for injuries suffered as a result of the activity. 

Courts in Nevada examine the following six factors when determining whether an activity is ultra-hazardous: 

  • Whether there is a high risk that the activity will harm someone
  • Whether there is a high likelihood that the harm suffered will be great
  • Whether it is impossible to eliminate the risk through the exercise of care
  • Whether the activity in question is a matter of common usage
  • Whether the location of the activity is appropriate
  • Whether the value of the activity to the community is outweighed by the danger it presents.

Examples may include using explosives or transporting hazardous chemical waste. 

Contact a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney If You Have Questions About Strict Liability 

If you’ve been injured by a product or abnormally dangerous activity in the state of Nevada, you may be able to file a personal injury case based on strict liability. Contact Battle Born Injury Lawyers an experienced personal injury lawyer who will put their experience and knowledge to work for you. Call us now at (702) 570-9000 to schedule a free consultation.