A natural event, not preventable by any human agency, such as flood, storms, or lightning. Forces of nature that no one has control over, and therefore cannot be held accountable.
This phrase denotes those accidents which arise from physical causes, and which cannot be prevented.
Where the law casts a duty on a party, the performance shall be excused, if it be rendered impossible by the act of God, but where the party by his own contract engages to do an act, it is deemed to be his own fault and folly that he did not thereby provide against contingencies, and exempt himself from responsibilities in certain events and in such case, that is, in the instance of an absolute general contract the performance is not excused by an inevitable accident or other contingency, although not foreseen by, nor within the control of, the party.
This entry contains material from Bouvier's Legal Dictionary, a work published in the 1850's.
Courtesy of the 'Lectric Law Library
A manifestation of the forces of nature, which could not have beenprevented or avoided by foresight or prudence. Proof that an injury was causedby an act of God may be used as a defense against negligence, though it willnot excuse a contractual duty in the absence of statutory or contractuallanguage to the contrary.