The topic of “liability” comes up on my radio show often. The following is just one of the many questions I get regarding liability. And while the question may seem trivial, the answer does address the issue of liability in a concise way. Please keep in mind this article is not meant to be legal advice, simply personal opinion, based on similar circumstances.
ANSWER: There is always potential liability for your actions. It’s that simple. But the liability must be associated with a “loss”.
In other words, the human equation could go like this:
Your action = reaction = event = result. You are liable for the “action”, which could make you responsible for the “reaction”. Therefore you could be held responsible (or liable) for the “event” and “result”.
A real-life scenario …
ACTION: You put a whistler into your neighbor’s car.
REACTION: Your neighbor panics and pulls off the road quickly!
EVENT: He smashes into a tree.
RESULT: The front end of his car is smashed.
YOUR LIABILITY: Could be the cost of repairs!
In this “Liability Equation” there are several factors to consider that could relieve you of paying damages. For example, if you action did not warrant the reaction. Let’s say he overreacted. You could make the argument that he is responsible to some degree.
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