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What Is a Civil Liability?

A person, company, corporation, or entity can be held legally responsible for certain actions or situations, especially when such actions or situations place others in danger or at risk. When such an entity is found to be responsible for committing a civil wrong against another entity or party, it is said to be a case of civil liability.


Civil liability is the subject of many lawsuits wherein a plaintiff may claim that the defendant was legally responsible for an event or situation. However, civil liability can be interpreted by a judge or jury depending upon the circumstances of the event or situation. The purpose of establishing civil liability in a matter of litigation is to seek some form of compensation that can be financial or others. A civil penalty is often sought in a case of civil liability.


It is necessary that this wrongful act be established and validated through the definitions provided by the codification of legislation, regulations, and decrees. Once established, a plaintiff may request that the court award him or her damages for having suffered. These damages are not a form of criminal punishment since the intent of civil penalties is to compensate for whatever loss, harm, or injury was suffered.


Civil liability cases may exist in cases of lost wages, negligence, and confidentiality clauses. It is possible for civil liability cases to involve criminal punishment such as cases involving wrongful death, but it is more likely for civil liability cases to be resolved in civil penalties.

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