You Could Be Liable For Actions Of Your Animals With Strict Liability Laws

strict liability examples

strict liability laws

Be careful the next time you let your animal roam around freely because with the strict liability laws imposed in many cities and states, it becomes your responsibility for the injuries caused by the dangerous animal, intentionally or unintentionally on others. This law has become one of the strict liability examples and with these laws in place in the City, State and even in the Federal levels, you will be sole responsible for the actions of your animal.

In this article, we find out the definitions given to various categories of animals.

Dangerous Animals

A dangerous animal is the one, which has the potential to cause harm to human beings or other domestic animals. It also does not include animals, which are naturally domesticated by the humans. In view of the dangerous nature of such animals, most states have passed laws, which envisage strict liabilities for the owners.

Exotic Animals

Some of the animals that fall in this category include alligator, parana, crocodile and shark. Most of the states in the Country do not allow you to own any of them. In the states like Minnesota and Missouri, it is illegal to own animals like bobcats, great cats and lynx. Other species of animals that are closely watched include different monkey species like chimpanzees.

Wild Animals

There are numerous small untamed animals that could do harm to other animals and humans, which include skunks and raccoons. Other animals included in this category are wolves, dingoes, coyotes. In addition, a dog, which crosses, with any other wild dog is also considered wild. Others include weasels, venomous snakes and badgers.

monkey species

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Domestic Animals

Some domestic animals have posed potential threats to other animals and humans. These include Staffordshire Bull terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier. Special care should be taken while you transport these animals with all the safety measures taken if they are transported to a different location.

Points to remember

An important point that you should take note of is that even if the animal you own do not come under the dangerous category, you could be charged under strict liability laws if they cause damage to property or harm to an individual.

So with all the strict liability examples and strict liability laws, it is important that you take care of the potentially dangerous animals with care so that they do not harm others around you.

A Short Note On Strict Liability Crimes

Strict liability examples

Examples of Strict liability

What is strict liability? In the criminal law system that we presently follow, defendants are usually only punished if they are found guilty, or when there is requisite ‘mens rea.’ That is, the court renders punishment to only those who are found to be morally worthy of blame. An accused is deemed guilty if he is found to have broken the law intentionally. However, there are certain crimes, which do not require a mens rea, and such cases are known as the strict liability cases.

What is a strict liability crime?

A strict liability crime, as mentioned above is a crime that does not call for a mens rea. In other words, these crimes do not require the defendant to have done something that is wrong or that is morally blameworthy. That is, the accused can be held responsible even if he/she does not have a guilty mind that usually makes a crime morally wrong.

Strict liability examples

The strict liability crime can at times be a concept that is a little hard to understand. Given below are a few strict liability examples to help you understand this legal principle in a better way.

  • Statutory rape law: Sexual intercourse with a minor is illegal according to this law. Here the defendant is guilty of a strict liability crime even if he/she believed that his/her partner was of a legally consenting age. Whether or not the offender intended to have sexual intercourse with a minor does not matter for it to be a crime.
  • Traffic offenses are another example of the strict liability crime. Even if you believe that you were driving within the prescribed speed limits, you will still be given a speeding ticket if you had crossed it.
  • An individual who sells alcohols to minors will be convicted of a strict liability crime even if he/she had believed that the minor was old enough to be buying alcohol.

    Strict liability crimes

    Strict liability explained

How strict liability crimes are justified

Criminally punishing someone for making mistakes that were apparently honest and which has some kind of justification may seem very unfair at first thought. However, in the longer run, the benefits to society of enforcing such laws are far greater than the cost of punishing such an offender.

That was some information on strict liability crimes and its examples. For more info on the same, refer legal resources available online.

Understanding Strict Liability

Strict liability example

Strict liability does not require mens rea

To prove a criminal act, one must prove that the accused had a guilty mind together with the guilty act (mens rea and actus rea respectively). This procedure has been adopted by law and is integral towards ensuring that an innocent person is not punished.

In the nineteenth century however, prosecutors found it almost impossible to convict an accused especially with regard to the safety standards in factories. Factory owners were found to be highly irresponsible and that caused injuries and fatalities among the workers. However, since the prosecutors could not prove a “guilty mind” (as the defense always stated that the owners had no intention to cause those injuries although they did not act responsibly), such people, could not be prosecuted. That is when the strict liability law was enacted where one need not prove mens rea to convict another in certain cases.

One of the classic strict liability examples would be the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain vs. Storkwain in 1986. In this case, a patient forged a prescription and brought it to a pharmacist. The pharmacist gave medication as per the “prescription”. Eventually, the forgery was detected and a case was charged. Interestingly, the case was charged against the pharmacist for supplying the medicine.

Now for a nonprofessional, this may seem awkward. What has the pharmacist have to do with giving medicine to a prescription that he had no idea was forged? The first court that heard the case thought so too and dismissed the case.

The appellate court however thought different. Under the strict liability law that was in brought in force, the pharmacist had a duty of checking whether the prescription was genuine or not. In this case, mens rea of wanting to provide medicines without prescription was not required to be proved. Instead, only the actus rea was to be proved which was done so quite easily.

Strict liability law

Strict liability includes dereliction of duty

These strict liability examples have many lessons for students of law as well as the ordinary citizen. Dereliction of duty is an offense and ignorance of laws that requires one to follow strict procedure is not an excuse! Secondly, one should look at different angles and provisions provided by law while arguing a case. The second of these is especially required for advocates who hope to be successful in the field of law.

Strict liability is however not used in every case. In the US for example, the law is invoked for minor offenses as obviously, bringing this to other criminal acts would lead to miscarriage of justice.

Some Drawbacks And Advantages Of Strict Liability

Laws of strict liability

     Strict liability examples explained

Manufacturers are responsible for the damages caused by their products. The persons who were at the receiving end of the damages or injuries caused by the product have grounds to file charges against the individuals who designed or produced the goods. It needs to be noted that the plaintiff may receive monetary settlements even if the manufacturers are able to prove that they exercised all possible care during production and distribution. The laws of strict liability are not applicable in cases of private sales, and they can only be enforced if the businesses are involved in the selling or leasing of products.

Not all the states in the country have strict liability laws, only a few do, but in these, these laws are not the same. They vary from state to state, taking into consideration the unique features of those states. Some strict liability examples are mentioned here, and these will help you to understand the law better.

Sharing of damages

If a product is found to have caused any injury or damages, then the affected individuals can file a case against the manufacturers in a court of law. The manufacturers have some advantage in these situations, as in most cases they are not required to pay the damages alone. They can involve all the parties in the chain of distribution of the product, taking the strain off the settlement. The company manufacturing the products can share the responsibility of paying the damages with parties including retailers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. Before the company can involve the members of the chain of distribution, they must prove in the court that the latter were also negligent in their duties. It also needs to be noted that those businesses that are contracted by the government are usually exempt from paying strict liability damages.

Strict liability examples depicting advantages for consumers

Strict liability examples

                               Strict liability laws

Strict liability laws ensure that the consumers receive only premium quality goods from the manufacturers, and that any company trying to con the consumers is rightly punished. A consumer or a user is someone who activity or passively enjoys the benefits of a product, and if that person gets injured in the process, then they can sue for property and personal damages.

Strict liability laws ensure the presence of only high quality products in the market. Such laws are necessary to ensure that those who flood the market with low quality products are rightly punished.

A Short Note On Strict Liability

Strict liability examples

                          Examples of strict liability

It was a glorious Saturday morning and David was just getting home from his usual morning walk, when he got hit by a speeding car. It was an area where there were speed restrictions in place, and the speed of the car was clearly well over all the legal limits. Fortunately, David was not seriously injured, but still suffered from a minor concussion and a few bruises, not to mention the mental anguish he experienced, all the way to the hospital.

This might seem like an ordinary, run of the mill accident to most of you, but for someone who is interested in knowing the laws with regard to such accidents, there is a vast deal to be learnt from cases like this. Even though the act of the driver of the speeding car was just negligent, from the legal POV, it is treated as a case of strict liability.

What is strict liability?

In purely legal terms, strict liability means that the person or company, whose negligent actions lead to any injuries or damages, is liable to their actions in a court of law. In simpler terms, if a person or a company commits an action which is not intended on causing any harm, but still ended up causing it nevertheless, then it is responsible for that harm incurred. This definition will be clearer after examining these strict liability examples given below.

Some strict liability examples

The case of David, which is mentioned above is a perfect example for a strict liability case. The important point to note here is that even though the actions of the driver might merely have been negligent, and probably no harm was intended, it is treated as a strict liability case, as being a driver itself is a responsibility. Even if the driver had reasons for going too fast, even if the reason was a medical emergency, the action would still fall under the strict liability section of the law.

Court of law

                 Strict liability examples given

It is not just a single person who has to bear the brunt of the strict liability. Companies are often on the wrong end of strict liability too, as they are responsible for any harm caused by their products, due to flawed design, manufacturing defects, etc.

It is to be noted that certain statutory offenses also fall under the category of strict liability. The latter covers a vast area and to know more about it, you will need a good understanding about various aspects of certain laws.