Liability, central concept of the law of damages; obligation of a person other than the claimant to compensate for damages depending on the specific circumstances. There are two major types of liabilities: liability for default (tortious liability), as laid down in the Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, and absolute liability, as laid down in various specific laws (e.g. operation of trains and automobiles, aviation, atomic energy, pipes, mining, forestry). In cases where absolute liability applies, the perpetrator of a permitted but objectively dangerous action has to compensate for damages arising from such action even if it was through no fault of his/her own. In many cases taking out a liability insurance policy is compulsory to assure compensation for damages.
Literature: H. Koziol, Haftpflichtrecht, 21980.