How does liability arise?

A person or an organisation can become legally liable in three ways.

  • By doing something wrong. The legal term for is delict. For example, a security company shoots an innocent bystander. Some people refer to this a fault based liability.
  • An alternative to fault based liability is strict liability. In terms of strict liability someone can be held liable even when it was not their fault. A common example is found in the employer-employee relationship where the employer is automatically liable for the actions of the employee. Example, the Insured’s gardener starts a fire which spreads to the neighbour’s property. The Insured will be held liable for the actions of their employee.
  • Strict liability is an example of the country’s law imposing a liability on a person.
  • Liability can also arise out of a contract. For example, the Insured undertakes to pay any liability that the security company incurs while protecting the Insured’s property
  • To summarise, there are three ways in which liability can arise:
    • Delict
    • Law
    • Contract
Introduction to Liability