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You might have heard the term “liability” in your own experience, or in media portrayals of lawsuits. Liability is a key concept in personal injury law, as it determines whether or not a plaintiff can be compensated for her injuries. 

In order to succeed in a lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that the other party is liable for her injuries. Knowing what liability means is crucial to understanding your personal injury case.   

What Is Liability?

What Is Liability?

Liability is legal responsibility. In the context of personal injury law, liability refers to the legal responsibility one party has for their actions or negligence that results in harm to another person. The person who has caused the harm, or the person responsible for paying damages, is said to be “liable” for the plaintiff’s injuries. It is a foundational concept in determining who should be held accountable for the injuries and damages suffered by an individual.

A person or company may have liability due to their actions (e.g. if they are “at fault”), or because they agree to take on liability. Similarly, a company can disclaim liability through a valid waiver of liability. Establishing who was liable is important to know who to sue, and can play a role in subrogation, which is insurance companies’ reimbursement for claims that were another party’s fault.

Liability is often discussed alongside damages because legal responsibility often translates to financial responsibility. Damages provide monetary compensation for the harms that one has suffered. The party that is legally responsible, or liable, for the other party’s harms will be required to pay damages to compensate for those harms. 

Types of Liability

While liability is a broad term, there are specific types of liability that exist in different circumstances. These are a few types of liability that show up in personal injury cases:


The most common type of liability in personal injury cases is negligence. Negligence involves proving that a party (1) had a duty of care, (2) breached their duty of care, (3) that the breach caused the harm, and (4) that the breach of duty resulted in damages. For instance, a distracted driver who hits a pedestrian while texting and driving has breached his duty of care to drive carefully and follow traffic laws. A plaintiff bringing a negligence claim must prove all four elements in order to have a valid negligence claim.

Strict Liability

Strict liability, unlike negligence, holds individuals and companies responsible for their actions regardless of fault or intent. It often applies in cases involving defective products or inherently dangerous activities, like blasting. The law holds individuals engaged in these activities to a higher standard because of the risk of harm to others. Thus, if a company improperly manufactures a product that causes an injury, that company must compensate the costs of the injury even if the defect in manufacturing was an accident.

Intentional Torts

When a party causes harm intentionally, they are said to have committed an intentional tort. That party can be held responsible, or liable, for their deliberate actions. 

Examples of intentional torts include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Arson
  • Murder

The amount of damages one has to pay may depend on the circumstances — for instance, whether assaulting someone else was an act of self-defense.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability exists when a party is responsible for the actions of another. This shows up most often when employees cause harm while acting in the scope of their employment. When an employee is acting as an employee, the company is on the hook to pay damages for the harm the employee caused. Otherwise, the employee may be personally responsible for paying damages.

Joint Liability

Individuals can share liability for the same harm. You may have heard the term “joint and several liability.” Joint liability means that the individuals responsible for the harm are responsible for the full amount of damages. This allows the plaintiff to get the full amount of damages, even if some of the responsible parties cannot be found. Several liability means that when multiple parties are responsible for harm, they are each on the hook for their portion of the damages. 

Can I Recover Damages if I Am Partly at Fault?

In Nevada, plaintiffs can still recover damages if they are partly at fault. Nevada has adopted a modified comparative negligence approach with a 51% bar, which means that plaintiffs who are partly at fault can recover damages if they are not more than 50% at fault for the accident. Thus, even plaintiffs who are partly liable can recover damages.

Contact a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can investigate your case and help you determine the liability of the parties.

De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers is here to provide the legal guidance and representation you need. While this article serves as an informative resource, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney for personalized advice tailored to your unique situation. Contact our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at (702) 222-9999 to schedule a consultation. Your journey to justice and fair compensation starts here.

Areas We Serve

At De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers our personal injury lawyers serve the following localities: Angel Park, Anthem, Boulder City, Downtown Las Vegas, East Las Vegas, Gibson Springs, Green Valley, Henderson, Lake Las Vegas, MacDonald Ranch, McCullough Hills, Mission Hills, Paradise, Peccole Ranch, Queensridge, Reno, Seven Hills, Smoke Ranch, Spring Valley, Summerlin, The Lakes, The Strip, Whitney, and more.
We also represent accident victims in Oakland, CA.

About Our Firm

De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers, located in Las Vegas, NV, is a personal injury law firm established over 30 years ago.
We have 100+ years of combined experience securing hundreds of millions for injured people throughout Nevada. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today to discuss your case.

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