The word is a broad legal term. Mayfield v. First Nat. Bank of Chattanooga, Tenn., C.C.A.Tenn., 137 F.2d 1013, 1019.
It has been referred to as of the most comprehensive significance, including almost every character of hazard or responsibility, absolute, contingent, or likely. It has been defined to mean: all character of debts and obligations, Public Market Co. of Portland v. City of Portland, 171 Or. 522, 130 P.2d 624, 643, 646;
amenability or responsibility, Eberhard v. JEtna Ins. Co., 134 Misc. 386, 235 N.Y.S. 445, 447;
an obligation one is bound in law or justice to perform, State ex rel. Diederichs v. Board of Trustees of Missoula County High School, 91 Mont. 300, 7 P.2d 543, 545;
an obligation which may or may not ripen into a debt; any kind of debt or liability, either absolute or contingent, express or implied, Public Market Co. of Portland v. City of Portland, 171 Or. 522, 130 P.2d 624, 643, 646;
condition of being actually or potentially subject to an obligation; condition of being responsible for a possible or actual loss, penalty, evil, expense, or burden; condition which creates a duty to perform an act immediately or in the future, Union Oil Co. of California v. Basalt Rock Co., 30 Cal.App.2d 317, 86 P.2d 139, 141;
duty to pay money or perform some other service, Dehne v. Hillman Inv. Co., C.C.A.Pa., 110 F.2d 456, 458;
duty which must at least eventually be performed, Vandegrift v. Riley, Cal.Sup., 16 P.2d 734, 736;
estate tax, Lyeth v. Hoey, C.C.A.N.Y., 112 F.2d 4, 6;
every kind of legal obligation, responsibility, or duty, Mayfield v. First Nat. Bank of Chattanooga, Tenn., C.C.A.Tenn., 137 F.2d 1013, 1019;
fixed liability, Ivester v. State ex rel. Gillum, 183 Okl. 519, 83 P.2d 193, 196; legal responsibility, Clark v. Lowden, D.C.Minn., 43 F.Supp. 261, 263;
penalty for failure to pay tax when due, State v. Fischl, 94 Mont. 92, 20 P.2d 1057, 1059;
present, current, future, fixed or contingent debts, Erickson v. Grande Ronde Lumber Co., 162 Or. 556, 92 P.2d 170, 174;
punishment, Holliman v. Cole, 168 Okl. 473, 34 P.2d 597, 599;
responsibility for torts, Italiani v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation, 45 Cal.App.2d 464, 114 P.2d 370, 372;
tax, Thompson v. Smith, 189 Okl. 217, 114 P.2d 922, 924;
that which one is under obligation to pay, or for which one is liable, Reconstruction Finance Corporation v. Gossett, Tex., Ill S.W.2d 1066;
the state of being bound or obliged in law or justice to do, pay, or make good something; the state of one who is bound in law and justice to do something which may be enforced by action, Fidelity Coal Co. v. Diamond, 310 Ill.App. 387, 34 N.E.2d 123; Clark v. Lowden, D.C.Minn., 48 F.Supp. 261, 263;
unliquidated claim. All the claims against a corporation.
Liabilities include accounts and wages and salaries payable, dividends declared payable, accrued taxes payable, fixed or long-term liabilities such as mortgage bonds, debentures and bank loans.
- derivative liability
- employer's liability acts
- enterprise liability
- limitation of liability acts
- personal liability
@ absolute liability
Responsibility without fault or negligence. Rylands v. Fletcher, 3 H.L. 330; Clark-Aiken Co. v. Cromwell-Wright Co., Inc. (Mass.), 323 N.E.2d 876.
@ accrued liability
Obligation which has been incurred but not yet paid; e.g. taxes, rent.
+ accrued liability
An obligation or debt which is properly chargeable in a given accounting period but which is not yet paid or payable
@ contingent liability
A liability not yet fixed but dependent on events to occur in the future (e.g. a pending law suit).
+ contingent liability
One which is not now fixed and absolute, but which will become so in case of the occurrence of some future and uncertain event. Warren Co. v. C. I. R., C.C.A.Ga., 135 F.2d 679, 684, 685. A potential liability; e.g. pending lawsuit, disputed claim, judgment being appealed, possible tax deficiency.
@ fixed liability
One fixed as to time, amount, etc.; e.g. mortgage.
- joint and several liability
@ joint liability
Liability for which more than one person is responsible.
See also contribution
+ joint liability
Liability that is owed to a third party by two or more other parties together. One wherein joint obligor has right to insist that co-obligor be joined as a codefendant with him, that is, that they be sued jointly. Schram v. Perkins, D.C.Mich., 38 F.Supp. 404, 407.
- joint and several liability
@ liability bond
One which is intended to protect the assured from liability for damages or to protect the persons damaged by injuries occasioned by the assured as specified, when such liability should accrue, and be imposed by law, as by a court, as distinguished from an indemnity bond, whose purpose is only to indemnify the assured against actual loss by way of reimbursement for moneys paid or which must be paid.
@ primary liability
A liability for which a person is directly responsible as contrasted with one which is contingent or secondary.
+ primary liability
In commercial law, a description of the nature of a signer's engagement, i.e., his or her contract liability, on an instrument which means that he or she is obligated to pay without someone else refusing to pay. Ordinarily, the liability of a maker or acceptor is primary
@ secondary liability
A liability in the nature of a contigent claim such as the liability of a guarantor as contrasted with that of a strict surety or comaker. A guarantor's liability does not arise until the principal debtor has failed to pay the creditor
+ secondary liability
A liability which does not attach until or except upon the fulfillment of certain conditions; as that of a surety, or that of an accommodation indorser
@ liability created by statute
One depending for its existence on the enactment of a statute, and not on the contract of the parties. One which would not exist but for the statute. Cannon v. Miller, 22 Wash.2d 227, 155 P.2d 500, 507, 508
@ liability for damages
Liability for an amount to be ascertained by trial of the facts in particular cases
@ liability imposed by law
Liability imposed in a definite sum by a final judgment against assured. Girard v. Commercial Standard Ins. Co., 66 Cal.App.2d 483, 152 P.2d 509, 513.
Total liability imposed by law upon a person. Schwartz v. Merola Bros. Const. Corporation, 290 N.Y. 145, 48 N.E.2d 299, 303
@ liability in solido
Liability in solido, whether emanating from tort or contract, means that either of the debtors may be required to discharge obligation in full at creditor's election. Cunningham v. Hardware Mut. Cas. Co., La.App., 228 So.2d 700, 705
- liability insurance
@ liability limits
The sum beyond which a liability insurance company does not protect the insured on a particular policy. Most policies covering liability for bodily injury have two limits, a limit of liability to any one person, and, subject to the personal limit, another and usually higher limit for any single accident, where more than one person is involved

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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