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Defenses to a Strict Liability Claim

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2016 | Personal Injury


In New Jersey, as in other states, there are some personal injury claims that can be filed based on the legal concept of strict liability. Essentially, this means that the state legislature has determined an activity to be sufficiently dangerous that anyone engaging in the activity must assume the risk of injury. In these lawsuits, the injured party does not need to show negligence, only that the defendant was engaged in a certain activity and that the plaintiff was injured as a result.
There are, however, defenses that you can raise to a claim of strict liability:

  • Assumption of risk-This doctrine can limit liability where the injured party knew of the potential risks and engaged in the activity anyway. For example, a person who takes a job as a lion trainer, particularly someone with little or no experience, may be considered to have assumed the risk of injury
  • Contributory negligence-If the injured party acted in any way that contributed to his injury, his or her right to recovery in a strict liability claim may be limited or waived. Assume that your neighbor has a Rottweiler, but has a fence up to protect anyone outside his yard. If you intentionally stick your hand through or over the fence and the dog bites you, any strict liability principles may be limited.

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