Ultrahazardous Activity: What Is It, Who’s Liable?

Ultrahazardous activities involve a risk of injury that cannot be eliminated even by the exercise of the utmost care. Those engaged in these activities are held strictly liable when something does go wrong.

What that means is that whoever engages in abnormally dangerous activities has to pay for injuries caused as a result even when they were not negligent. The fact of engaging in the inherently dangerous or ultrahazardous activity and causing injury is enough to trigger liability.

What Are Ultrahazardous Activities?

Even the most reckless of individuals is unlikely to commonly engage in what in torts terms are known as ultrahazardous, or abnormally dangerous, activities. These are so inherently risky that they are usually the acts of industry. Transportation, use and storage of dynamite, toxic waste, or radioactive materials are all inherently dangerous activities.

There is one category of ultrahazardous activity that could impact some brave individuals. Keeping wild animals — any animal not domesticated in a particular area — is considered abnormally dangerous. Those who do it assume the risk of paying for injuries caused by their creatures.

Factors that Make Activities Ultrahazardous

Courts will consider different factors to determine whether an activity can be classified as ultrahazrdous, or abnormally or inherently dangerous. They are as follows:

  • The relative possibility of harm.
  • The level of seriousness of potential harm.
  • The activity itself, how unlikely people are to engage in it.
  • If the possibility of harm is decreased with the utmost care.
  • Whether the risk of the activity outweighs its social value.
  • Inappropriateness of the activity in the area.

Proving a Case

Although in a strict liability claim, there is no need to prove negligence, there are still elements to prove. Do not take this fight on alone. Talk to a lawyer. Many attorneys will consult for free or a minimal fee. Get help.

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