Strict Liability

Strict Liability

What happens when a plaintiff is bitten by a dog or injured by some other animal due to no fault of her own? What about an injury resulting from an abnormally dangerous activity? In these situations, a plaintiff can use the theory of strict liability with the help of their slip and fall lawyer in Las Vegas, NV.

To establish a case of strict liability, a plaintiff must show (1) the nature of the defendant’s activity imposes an absolute duty to make safe; (2) the dangerous aspect of the activity was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury; and (3) the plaintiff suffered damages to her person or property as a result. Essentially, this means that a defendant will be strictly liable to a plaintiff for injury resulting from certain activities no matter how careful he was in attempting to prevent the injury to plaintiff.

Animal Liability

An owner of an animal is strictly liable for all reasonably foreseeable damage done to a plaintiff as a result of trespass of his animal. Animal liability is divided between wild animals and domestic animals.

An owner of a wild animal will be strictly liable to all plaintiffs he invites onto his property, even those wild animals kept as pets. Examples of wild animals include tigers, lions, and bears. On the contrary, an owner is not strictly liable for injuries caused by domestic animals unless he has prior knowledge of that animal’s tendency to be dangerous. Examples of domestic animals include dogs, cats, and horses. An exception to strict liability for animals applies to trespassers, as long as the owner is not negligent on his own in some manner.

Most states have dog law statutes governing liability for dog bites. However, Nevada does not have a strict liability dog law statute. Instead, Nevada courts follow the rule of previous cases regarding dog law liability, which are essentially evaluated on a negligence basis.

Abnormally Dangerous Activities

Nevada law does recognize strict liability for abnormally dangerous activities. An abnormally dangerous activity requires two findings: (1) the activity must create a foreseeable risk of serious harm even when reasonable care is exercised; and (2) the activity is not a matter of common usage in the community. Courts will also balance the appropriateness of conducting the abnormally dangerous activity in the area it was conducted and whether the value of the activity to the community is outweighed by its dangerous nature. Some of the most common examples include making explosives, fumigating, and blasting.


If a plaintiff knew of the danger her conduct and acted unreasonably to cause herself injury, she can be responsible for some portion of her damages. That is, plaintiff assumed the risk of her injury.

Thanks to Eglet Adams for their insight on strict liability regarding animals and abnormally dangerous activities.