Act of God

Definition - What does Act of God mean?

An unpreventable, natural phenomenon, referred to as an "act of God," may be used as an excuse for a failure to fulfill a legal obligation. Acts of God can include wildfires, blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

An act of God is often an issue in contract law where a defendant who failed to meet contractual obligations argues that a natural disaster prevented the fulfillment of the contract.

Justipedia explains Act of God

The development of act of God jurisprudence reflects the common-sense notion that a party should not be held liable for unforeseeable and unpreventable events like natural disasters.

In tort law, negligence causes of action are rooted in the idea that a party should be held responsible for causing harm or failing to stop harm that the party should have reasonably foreseen. However, no one can prevent the harm of a natural disaster (nor predict the event with certainty), so courts generally excuse liability for such an act of God.

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