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Casualty can refer to both an unforeseen accident or disaster, as well as the resulting harm from said accident or disaster. Whether people, places, or things, anything can be considered a casualty of a certain harm. 26 U.S. Code § 165 provides for tax deductions for losses of property arising from “fire, storm, shipwreck, or other casualty.” Both the lost property and the inciting incident that caused the loss would be deemed a “casualty.” Property or money lost as a result of such an incident is also called a casualty loss.

Casualties can arise in foreseeable incidents, as well. For example, any person injured, killed, or otherwise lost in a war or military operation is considered a casualty.

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]