Definition: Liability Phase

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:43 by admin
The Liability Stage typically occurs first in a trial. The Plaintiffs attorney attempts to prove that the Defendant is the one who is responsible for the accident, injury, or property damage. If the Plaintiffs attorney is successful, the Defendant will be "liable" or "held legally responsible" for the accident, injury, or property damage. In the Liability Phase of a personal injury trial, the Plaintiffs attorney will typically use one of three legal theories to prove that the Defendant is liable and responsible for the accident, injury, or property damage:

1. An "intentional" tort occurs when one person purposefully causes an injury to another. An intentional tort is not an accident. 2. The tort of "negligence" occurs when someone or some company acts or fails to act in a reasonable and responsible manner and therefore causes injury to another. Negligence is the most common tort in the personal injury context. A typical act of negligence could be the failure of a surgeon to exercise proper oversight when performing an operation. For instance, if surgeons are trained to always close an incision in a certain fashion but your surgeon failed to follow that approved procedure and an injury ensued, the surgeon may have been negligent. While the surgeon certainly did not harm you "on purpose," he nevertheless failed to provide you with a reasonable amount of care and he should be held responsible for that lack of care. 3. Certain types of activities are so dangerous, that no matter how careful, responsible and conscientious the Defendant is, if someone is injured, the Defendant will be liable for the injury and will have to compensate the victim. While in a suit claiming negligence the Plaintiff
s attorney must prove that the Defendant acted carelessly or irresponsibly, the tort of strict liability can occur even when the Defendant acted as carefully as possible.

See Also

  1. What is a Lawsuit
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