Several Liability Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Several Liability, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Several Liability?

(n) Several liability is the liability of a person who is jointly liable along with others, to a third person to make good all the dues owed by all joint liability holders irrespective of the internal agreement with them. Such person however can claim the respective share of liability of others

History and Meaning of Several Liability

Several liability is a legal concept that refers to the shared responsibility among co-defendants in a lawsuit. This liability means that each defendant is only responsible for their share of the damages or debt owed, and not for the other defendants' portion. In the event that one defendant does not have the resources to pay their share, the other defendants may be obligated to pay it. However, each co-defendant is still only liable for their portion and not for the others.

The concept of several liability evolved over time from the traditional joint and several liability in common law. Joint and several liability held that each defendant was liable for the whole amount of damages or debt, even if they were only responsible for a small portion. This often led to situations in which an individual defendant had to bear the entire burden of the debt. Several liability was adopted as a temporary solution to resolve this issue, but it soon became a permanent fixture in modern legal systems.

Examples of Several Liability

  1. In a car accident case involving multiple drivers, each driver may only be responsible for a portion of the damages they caused, known as several liability.
  2. In a construction lawsuit involving multiple contractors, each contractor may only be responsible for their own mistakes or defects, again known as several liability.
  3. In a partnership dispute, each partner may only be responsible for their portion of the damages or debts owed to a client, again as several liability.

Legal Terms Similar to Several Liability

  1. Joint Liability - In joint liability, each defendant is equally responsible for the damages or debt owed.
  2. Indemnity - Indemnity is a legal concept used in contracts in which one party agrees to compensate the other for any damages or losses that may arise.
  3. Third-Party Liability - Third-party liability is when a party is responsible for damages or losses caused by their relationship with another party.