DYNAMITE and Wild Animals
What do dynamite and wild animals have in common? Under Tort law, they both fall under the category of Strict Liability. Lawsuits for injuries to one’s person or property are typically handled under Tort law, which includes negligence and Strict Liability.
In most situations when one is hurt or his stuff is damaged by another, he must prove that the perpetrator was negligent. Negligence has four elements consisting of duty, breach, causation and damages. In order to prevail in a negligence lawsuit, all four elements must be proven. For instance, if one’s house is flooded and destroyed because the next door neighbors’ dam on their pond broke, the damaged party must show that the neighbor was negligent by proving all four elements. First and foremost, the victim must show that the neighbor had a duty to keep the dam in good repair so that it wouldn’t break (Duty). Next, the victim must show that the neighbor failed or breached that duty in some way, such as overfilling the pond or ignoring a big crack in the dam’s wall (Breach). The home owner plaintiff must then show that the flood occurred or was caused as a result of the neighbor’s breach (Causation). Finally, the Plaintiff must show that he was damaged in some way. If the house was flooded because the dam broke, but there were no damages to the house or property then the negligence case will fail (Damages).
In certain situations involving dangerous products or animals, a defendant will be considered strictly liable and all of the elements of negligence do not need to be proven. In those cases, the plaintiff need only show that the defendant was the owner or had control of the instrumentality that caused the harm, and that the attack or damage was caused by the dangerous product or animal. Some examples of strict liability cases involve dangerous products such as dynamite and wild animals, like a tiger or snake. For instance, if someone’s pet python creeps out of the house and bites someone, the snake owner will be held Strictly Labile even if he didn’t let the snake out. If a builder takes all the right pre-cautions and follows all of the codes when using dynamite, but a neighbor’s home is damaged from the blasting, the builder will still be held responsible through Strict Liability.
Strict Liability was put into place to protect the general public from dangerous situations. So even if the owner of the dangerous product or animal did not intend for harm to occur, they can still be held responsible under Strict Liability.
When you take home that cute little alligator from the pet store or agree to baby sit your friend’s pet monkey, you could end up Strictly Liable if the little critter attacks someone. When it comes to Strict Liability intent is not an issue, rather the potential danger of the animal or product, the damage it causes and who has ownership or control of it. So be cautious with wild animals and watch what you do with dynamite!