liability


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.

liability,

in law, an obligation of one party to another, usually to compensate financially. It is a fundamental aspect of torttort,
in law, the violation of some duty clearly set by law, not by a specific agreement between two parties, as in breach of contract. When such a duty is breached, the injured party has the right to institute suit for compensatory damages.
..... Click the link for more information.
 law, although liability may also arise from duties entered into by special agreement, as in a contractcontract,
in law, a promise, enforceable by law, to perform or to refrain from performing some specified act. In a general sense, all civil obligations fall under tort or contract law.
..... Click the link for more information.
 or in the carrying out of a fiduciaryfiduciary
, in law, a person who is obliged to discharge faithfully a responsibility of trust toward another. Among the common fiduciary relationships are guardian to ward, parent to child, lawyer to client, corporate director to corporation, trustee to trust, and business
..... Click the link for more information.
 duty. Liability is not always the result of an intentionally damaging act or of some proven fault like negligencenegligence,
in law, especially tort law, the breach of an obligation (duty) to act with care, or the failure to act as a reasonable and prudent person would under similar circumstances.
..... Click the link for more information.
. The affixing of liability may once have been simply a peace-preserving alternative to the practice of an injured party taking vengeance. Further, the law's emphasis has long been that one who is able to pay (who, in modern terms, has "deep pockets") should pay one who has lost something through an action of the payer, even if that action was blameless.

Vicarious liability is the duty of a principal, e.g., an employer, to pay for losses occasioned by the acts of an agent, e.g., an employee. Strict liability, under which those engaging in certain undertakings (e.g., such "ultrahazardous" practices as the industrial use of high explosives) are held responsible for injury without inquiry into fault, has been increasingly imposed by courts and by statute in the 19th and 20th cent. One response has been the growth of the liability insurance industry, offering such coverage as physicians' malpracticemalpractice,
failure to provide professional services with the skill usually exhibited by responsible and careful members of the profession, resulting in injury, loss, or damage to the party contracting those services.
..... Click the link for more information.
 insurance. An area that has been the focus of much litigation, legislation, and debate in recent decades is product liability, under which heavy strict liability costs have been imposed on makers of such varied items as foods, drugs, cosmetics, and automobiles.

References in periodicals archive ?
Most of the harsh liability provisions under the federal Superfund remain intact under the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act.
The court held that, where the taxpayer's liability was fully paid, there was no "outstanding liability" against which to net a subsequently determined overpayment.
However, if they act negligently or in bad faith, they are subject to personal liability comparable to that of corporate officers and directors.
The extension of the broader agency immunity to subsequent purchasers should be particularly helpful in this regard by encouraging prospective purchasers to invest in properties that carry a risk of CERCLA liability.
Treasury and the Service, however, believe that applying the presumption of deemed satisfaction to a disregarded entity that shields a Federal tax partner from liability for the entity's obligation would, in many cases, cause partnership liabilities economically indistinguishable from nonrecourse liabilities to be classified as recourse under Sec.
This definition abandons a long-standing practice of using the transaction price for an asset or liability as its initial fair value.
In considering alter ego liability, courts generally look at factors such as (1) inadequate capitalization in the purported controlled entity; (2) the entities' failure to observe corporate formalities; (3) commingling of funds by the entities; (4) the absence of corporate records; and (5) the failure to maintain arm's-length relationships among the entities.
In the following example, fixed-site environmental liability insurance enabled an owner to sell a contaminated property at fair market value.
1) At year-end, all events have occurred establishing the fact of the liability and the amount can be determined with reasonable accuracy;
Survey participants in the 112 companies that were named in a directors and officers liability lawsuit reported average total defense, settlement and/or judgment costs of $308,465.
Consider asking the third party service provider for additional insured status on their fiduciary liability.
Until recently, however, Japan has not had Internet-specific content liability laws.