Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select
FindLaw Legal Dictionary

The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



bailment n

[Anglo-French bayllment, from bailler to hand over see bail ]
: the transfer of possession but not ownership of personal property (as goods) for a limited time or specified purpose (as transportation) such that the individual or business entity taking possession is liable to some extent for loss or damage to the property compare deposit loan for consumption and loan for use at loan NOTE: The typical elements of a bailment are delivery of the personal property, acceptance of the delivery, and possession or control of the property. Any of these elements may be actual or constructive. Bailments may be created by contracts, either express or implied, which require agreement, and the agreement may also be express or implied. Contracts for the lease of a car, for sale of goods on consignment, and for the transport of goods are examples of bailments.

bailment for hire
: a bailment that either benefits both parties or only the bailee
: one in which the bailee receives compensation called also bailment for mutual benefit compensated bailment

constructive bailment
: a bailment imposed by law when the bailee comes into possession of the property by accident or mistake (as by finding it or receiving a mistaken delivery) called also involuntary bailment

gratuitous bailment
: a bailment in which there is no compensation or benefit to one party
: one that benefits only the bailor compare commodatum

involuntary bailment
: constructive bailment in this entry

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options