Ultrahazardous Activity Liability

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What Is an Ultrahazardous Activity?

An ultrahazardous activity is defined as any act that is so inherently dangerous that the person performing it can be held liable for injuries to other persons, even if they took every reasonable step to prevent the injury.

Ultrahazardous activities are also known as “abnormally dangerous” activities. It is classified as a strict liability tort, meaning that the person performing the activity can be held liable even if they did not make any mistakes and took precautions to prevent harm.

Sometimes the term ultrahazardous activity is used to describe high-risk, extreme recreational activities such as sky-diving or cliff diving. However, these are generally not included in a torts discussion, as they are usually accompanied by a liability waiver and consented to by the person engaging in the activity.

What Is Required to Prove Damages from Ultrahazardous Activities?

 In order to prevail on an ultrahazardous or abnormally dangerous activities claim, the plaintiff needs to prove all of the following elements:

Also, it must be proven that the defendant’s actions actually caused the plaintiffs injuries, and that the plaintiff did in fact sustain injury.

Of the elements listed above, perhaps the most important is the last element regarding community standards. Actions that are not normally considered to be ultrahazardous may be transformed into an ultrahazardous activity they are performed in a specific community or location. For example, the act of transporting hazardous materials might not in itself be considered ultrahazardous. However, if the transportation is made near a school, it might then be categorized as ultrahazardous. 

What Are Some Common Examples of Ultrahazardous Activities?

Common examples of ultrahazardous activities include:

If a person who engages in such abnormally dangerous activities injures another in the process, again they will be held liable even if they exercised reasonable care.

Are any Defenses Available in Ultrahazardous Activities Claims?

Defenses in an ultrahazardous activities claim are few and very difficult to prove. Usually the execution of the ultrahazardous activity itself is enough to prove liability. Defenses typically involve the lack of care on the part of the injured party, for example, they did not pay attention to warnings or violated safety precautions. 

Defenses to abnormally dangerous activities claims include:

Thus, if the defendant is able to prove that the plaintiff had a part in their own injury, they may be able to claim a defense.

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Ultrahazardous Activities Lawsuit?

If you have been injured or if your property has been seriously damaged by an ultrahazardous activity, you may have grounds for a civil lawsuit according to tort laws. You should hire a personal injury lawyer if you will be needing legal representation in a court of law. Your attorney will explain to you all the nuances of ultrahazardous activities laws in a way that is understandable to you. Also, a lawyer can help you prepare for any defenses that the opposite party might raise. 

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Last Modified: 10-10-2014 04:00 PM PDT

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