act of God


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act of God,

in law, an accident caused by the operation of extraordinary natural force. The effect of ordinary natural causes (e.g., that rain will leak through a defective roof) may be foreseen and avoided by the exercise of human care; failure to take the necessary precautions constitutes negligencenegligence,
in law, especially tort law, the breach of an obligation (duty) to act with care, or the failure to act as a reasonable and prudent person would under similar circumstances.
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, and the party injured in the accident may be entitled to damages. An act of God, however, is so extraordinary and devoid of human agency that reasonable care would not avoid the consequences; hence, the injured party has no right to damages. Accidents caused by tornadoes, perils of the sea, extraordinary floods, and severe ice storms are usually considered acts of God, but fires are not so considered unless they are caused by lightning.
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act of God

Law a sudden and inevitable occurrence caused by natural forces and not by the agency of man, such as a flood, earthquake, or a similar catastrophe
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"act of God" and that they were absolved of any liability for
A: One who negligently creates a dangerous condition cannot escape liability for the natural and probable consequences thereof, although the act of a third person, or an act of God for which he is not responsible, intervenes to precipitate the loss.
It would need an act of God, but he'll go if he gets in.
For those telling the story of New Orleans without the context of racism, corruption and neglect that caused this, it could just be another act of God. "Things have changed, big and small," says local filmmaker Royce Osborn.
Yes, it would be wonderful if some spectacular act of God or nature would banish AIDS from our existence.
Lotteries were the first manifestation of that, Atlantic City the second, but ultimately, for gambling to truly become mainstream, an act of God was required.
"If I set out to do something, unless there's some catastrophic act of God preventing me, I'm going to stay with it."
Murphy is in court to argue against certification of a class-action suit, saying the spill was an act of God, not negligence.
Indeed some insurance policies will not pay out if something is deemed to be an act of God. All too often people seek to shift the blame from themselves on to someone else.
Nor has there been any rush to judgement in respect of the architecture that has signally failed to survive elemental attack; perhaps that phrase beloved of the insurance industry, 'Act of God', has led the public to excuse some of the results of extreme climate.
Need to know the difference between an act of God and an act of nature?
When the insurance company invokes the act of God clause and refuses to pay out, Steve is ruined and so are his ex-wife and her new husband who lent him the money to buy the boat in the first place.