Friday, April 27, 2007

Definition of Legal Liability

Liability, in its most general sense, means anything that puts individuals at a disadvantage. But in particular to law, a legal liability is a situation where a person is held liable (such in situations of tort concerning property or reputation) and is therefore responsible to pay compensation for any damage incurred. We must be clear of the definition of legal liability when we have to charge somebody liable for any damage done to a person (e.g. personal injury).

There are several ways of demonstrating liability. You can be held liable due to negligence, recklessness, ignorance, attractive nuisance, or failure to exercise duty to care and/or rescue, or failure to exercise your ability to control the activities of another violator (vicarious liability). Liability can also arise when you may be comparatively responsible for the damages caused by other parties, or there is already assumption of risk by the tortfeasor. People who engage in any inherently dangerous activity (e.g. drivers transporting hazardous chemicals, owners of dogs who have been known to attack other people before, etc.) can also be held liable should any injury arise.

In building a case against a defendant, establishing who is liable can be very tricky. It does help then to define what exactly liability is all about to learn how it affects personal injury claims and reaching settlements.