Dictionary of Legal Terms

Strict Liability

1) In tort law, liability imposed without any showing of negligence or other wrongful conduct. Strict civil liability is usually imposed for injuries caused by some particularly dangerous substance or agency (such as explosives or poisons) under the control of the defendant. Strict liability also applies in product liability cases, where the product caused the plaintiff's injury because it was defective and the product was designed, manufactured or sold by the defendant. In such a case, the plaintiff must prove that the product was defective but not that the defendant failed to be reasonably careful in, say, manufacturing it. 2) In criminal law, strict liability is imposed for acts and omissions (dealing with food, drugs and sanitation, for example) where the act or omission is the crime; the culpable mental state (if any) of the defendant doesn't matter. See actus reus, culpable mental state, mens rea, negligence, tort.

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This dictionary was developed by the Ohio State Bar Association with funding from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. The information contained in this dictionary is general and should not be applied to specific legal problems without first consulting your own attorney.

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