Indemnity – a duty to make good any loss, damage, or liability incurred by another, or the right of an injured party to claim reimbursement for its loss, damage, or liability from a person who has such a duty

n. (15c)

l. A duty to make good any loss, damage, or liability incurred by another.

2. The right of an injured party to claim reimbursement for its loss, damage, or liability from a person who has such a duty.

3. Reimbursement or compensation for loss, damage, or liability in tort; especially, the right of a party who is secondarily liable to recover from the party who is primarily liable for reimbursement of expenditures paid to a third party for injuries resulting from a violation of a common-law duty.  Cf. CONTRIBUTION (6), (7). — indemnitory, adj. [1]

1. A term inclusive of two primary concepts: (1) compensation in money or property for a loss suffered; (2) a contract to save another from the legal consequences of the conduct of one of the parties or of a third person.  Also inclusive in a proper sense of the security by way of deposit or bond furnished for the performance of an undertaking to save another harmless.  Builders Supply Co. v McCabe, 366, 27 Am J1st Indem § 2.

An obligation or duty resting on one person to make good any loss or damage another has incurred while acting at the request of the former or his benefit.  27 Am J1st Indem § 2.

The right of one who has been compelled to pay that which another person should have paid.  Security to protect against loss in assuming a status such as that of a guarantor or surety.  From the standpoint of an insurance contract: — the stipulated desideratum to be paid to the insured in case he suffers loss or damage through the risk specified and covered by the contract.  Physicians’ Defense Co. v Cooper (CA9 Cal) 199 F 576. [2]

1. A contract to compensate another in money or property for a loss she might suffer as the result of conduct which might occur; a contract of indemnity.  EXAMPLE: a performance bond.

2. Compensation paid under a contract of indemnity.

3. A benefit payable under an insurance policy.
     See indemnity insurance.  Also see double indemnity. [3]

Related Terms:

indemnify – to compensate or reimburse a person for a past or future loss or damage caused by one’s own or a third party’s act or default.

indemnitee – someone who receives indemnity from another.

indemnitor – a person whom indemnifies another. — aka indemnifier.

Various Forms of Indemnification:

contractual indemnity: (1924) Indemnity that is expressly provided for in an agreement.

double indemnity: (1859) The payment of twice the basic benefit in the event of a specified loss, especially as in an insurance contract requiring the insurer to pay twice the policy’s face amount in the case of accidental death.

equitable indemnity: (1809) 1. A doctrine allowing a defendant in a tort action to allocate blame to a codefendant or cross-defendant, and thereby to proportionally reduce legal responsibility, even in the absence of contractual indemnity.  *  In this sense, equitable indemnity applies only among defendants who are jointly and severally liable to the plaintiffs. — aka implied indemnity; doctrine of equitable indemnity.  2. See implied contractual indemnity.  3. See implied indemnity.

implied contractual indemnity: (1958) Indemnity that is not expressly provided for by an indemnity clause in an agreement but is nevertheless determined to be reasonably intended by the parties, based on equitable considerations. — aka equitable indemnity.

implied indemnity: (1850) Indemnity arising from equitable considerations and based on the parties’ relationship, as when a guarantor pays a debt to a creditor that the principal debtor should have paid. — aka equitable indemnity.

indemnity against liability: (1838) A right to indemnity that arises on the indemnitor’s default, regardless of whether the indemnitee has suffered a loss.

     “Indemnity against Liability — Where the indemnity is against liability, the cause of action is complete and the indemnitee may recover on the contract as soon as his liability has become fixed and established, even though he has sustained no actual loss or damage at the time he seeks to recover.  Thus, under such a contract, a cause of action accrues to the indemnitee on the recovery of a judgment against him, and he may recover from the indemnitor without proof of payment of the judgment.” 42 C.J.S. Indemnity § 22 (1991).

statutory indemnity: (1866) Indemnity conferred by legislation.  *  Corporation statutes require that a corporation indemnify its personnel — in particular officers and directors — against costs incurred in the successful defense of a judicial, administrative, or investigative proceeding.  Corporation statutes also typically authorize undertakings to advance defense costs to company personnel.

indemnity clause: (1860) A contractual provision in which one party agrees to answer for any specified or unspecified liability or harm that the other party might incur. — aka hold-harmless clause; save-harmless clause.  Cf. EXEMPTION CLAUSE. ‘ ‘ . “

indemnity contract. See CONTRACTS.

indemnity costs: (1892) English law. In civil litigation, the prevailing party’s reasonable expenses, including legal fees, that the court may order the opposing party to pay as compensation in addition to any other award.

indemnity insurance: See first-party insurance under INSURANCE.

indemnity land: (1901) 1. Public land granted to a railroad company to help defray the cost of constructing a right-of-way.  *  This land indemnifies a railroad company for land given in a previous grant but later rendered unavailable for railroad use by a disposition or reservation made after the original grant.  2. Federally owned land granted to a state to replace previously granted land that has since been rendered unavailable for the state’s use. — aka place land.

indemnity mortgage. See deed of trust under DEED.

indemnity principle: (1917) Insurance. The doctrine that an insurance policy should not confer a benefit greater in value than the loss suffered by the insured.

adj. [Latin]

1. Free from loss or damage; harmless.


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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