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Forensic Systems Engineering by William A. Stimson

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6Process Liability

Process liability is a new concept, built upon the notion of product liability, the latter long recognized in law. The two must be distinguished, so I begin at the beginning: what do we mean by the term “liability?” In its simplest terms, a liability is a debt or obligation. The Britannica Dictionary defines liability as “the condition of being responsible for a possible or actual loss, penalty, evil, expense, or burden.” If you are liable, you owe or will owe somebody something. Parents are liable for the welfare of their children. In accordance with our Constitution, our government is liable for the general welfare. (I make no attempt here to define what that means.) Performers are liable for the results of what they do.

In law, liability refers to legal or financial responsibility and applies in both civil and criminal law. If a provider is liable for injury or harm to someone, the injured party is entitled to damages, usually monetary compensation. Under tort law, legal injuries include emotional or economic harm to reputation, violations of privacy, property, and constitutional rights as well as physical injuries.

Product and service liability, therefore, refers to the responsibility for damages that a provider owes to a customer or user who is injured in some way by the ...

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