At common law, an overwhelming event caused exclusively by natural forces whose effects could not possibly be prevented (e.g., flood, earthquake, tornado). In modern jurisdictions, "act of God" is often broadened by statute to include all natural phenomena whose effects could not be prevented by the exercise of reasonable care and foresight.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
An extraordinary and unexpected natural event, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, or even the sudden death of a person. An act of God may be a defense against liability for injuries or damages; insurance policies often exempt coverage for damage caused by acts of God. Under the law of contracts, an act of God often serves as a valid excuse if one of the parties to the contract is unable to fulfill his or her duties -- for instance, completing a construction project on time.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:10 pm