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What is strict liability?

The majority of personal injury claims are fault based which means that in order to reach a successful settlement, a claimant must prove that the negligence of the defendant caused their injuries and losses. To do this, the claimant is normally required to demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty of care and that their breach of this duty directly led to the injuries that they sustained. What is more, the court will aim to see that three more factors were present:

  • That the risk of harm could be considered as reasonably foreseeable
  • That it is reasonable and fair to consider the defendant as responsible for the injuries sustained
  • That there was a relationship of proximity between the claimant and the defendant.

These requirements are placed on the majority of claim cases, though some refer to the principle of strict liability instead. With cases of strict liability, the responsibility of the defendant exists without the need to demonstrate negligence or intention. This means that the court does not need to be satisfied that the defendant had intended or was aware of the potential for harm and the claimant is not obliged to prove that the defendant is liable.

One of the key areas where strict liability applies is for claims relating to injuries caused by faulty products. With product liability claims, the principle of strict liability for manufacturers is imposed by the Consumer Act 1987. As a result of this, a person injured by a faulty product need only prove that the product has a defect, not that the manufacturer was actually at fault for the defect.