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Chapter 13

STRICT LIABILITY

  The liability we have seen thus far has been based either upon intent or upon negligence. We examine in this chapter certain situations, particularly those involving animals and abnormally dangerous activities, in which liability is imposed even where neither intent nor negligence is present. Such liability is sometimes called “liability without fault” or “absolute liability.” However, the more commonly-accepted term, and the more descriptive one, is “strict liability.” The key concepts in this chapter are:
  • Basis for:  The basis for strict liability is that those who engage in certain kinds of activities do so at their own peril, and must pay for any damage that foreseeably results, even if the activity has been carried out in the most careful possible manner. Our society has made the judgment that such activities should “pay their own way.” This judgment stems in part from the belief that it is generally easier for the defendant to bear the loss (probably through liability insurance) than for the injured plaintiff to do so.
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