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ACCIDENT

accident,n.1.  An  unintended  and  unforeseen  injurious  occurrence;  something  that  does  not

occur in the usual course of events or that could not be reasonably anticipated. 2.Equity practice.

An  unforeseen  and  injurious  occurrence  not  attributable  to  mistake,  negligence,  neglect,  or

“The word ‘accident,’ in accident policies, means an  event which takes place without one’s

foresight or expectation. A result, though unexpected, is not an accident; the means or cause must

be  accidental.  Death  resulting  from  voluntary  physical  exertions  or  from  intentional  acts  of  the

insured  is  not  accidental,  nor  is  disease  or  death  caused  by  the  vicissitudes  of  climate  or

atmosphere the  result  of  an  accident; but  where, in  the  act which  precedes an  injury,  something

unforeseen or unusual occurs which produces the injury, the injury results through accident.” 1A

John Alan Appleman & Jean Appleman, Insurance Law and Practice § 360, at 455 (rev. vol. 1981).

“Policies of liability insurance as well as  property and  personal injury insurance frequently

limit coverage to losses that are caused by ‘accident.’ In attempting to accommodate the layman’s

understanding of the term, courts have broadly defined the word to mean an occurrence which is

unforeseen, unexpected, extraordinary, either by virtue of the fact that it occurred at all, or because

of the extent of the damage. An accident can be either a sudden happening or a slowly evolving

process  like  the  percolation  of  harmful  substances  through  the  ground.  Qualifi-cation  of  a

particular incident as an accident seems to depend on two criteria: 1. the degree of foreseeability,

and  2.  the  state  of  mind  of  the  actor  in  intending  or  not  intending  the  result.”  John  F.  Dobbyn,

Insurance Law in a Nutshell 128 (3d ed. 1996).

culpable   accident.An   accident   due   to   negligence.   •   A   culpable   accident,   unlike   an

unavoidable  accident,  is  no  defense  except  in  those  few  cases  in  which  wrongful  intent  is  the

exclusive and necessary basis for liability.

unavoidable  accident.An  accident  that  cannot  be  avoided  because  it  is  produced  by  an

irresistible  physical  cause  that  cannot  be  prevented  by  human  skill  or  reasonable  foresight.  •

Examples  include  accidents  resulting  from  lightning  or  storms,  perils  of  the  sea,  inundations  or

earthquakes,  or  sudden  illness  or  death.  Unavoidable  accident  has  been  considered  a  means  of

avoiding  both  civil  and  criminal  liability.  —  Also  termed  inevitable  accident;  pure  accident;

unavoidable casualty. Cf. ACT OF GOD. [Cases: Automobiles    201(10); Negligence    440. C.J.S.

Motor Vehicles § 517; Negligence§§ 66–68, 209.]

“Inevitable accident …  does not mean a catastrophe  which could  not have been avoided by

any  precaution  whatever,  but  such  as  could  not  have  been  avoided  by  a  reasonable  man  at  the

moment at which it occurred, and it is common knowledge that a reasonable man is not credited

with perfection of judgment.” P.H. Winfield, A Textbook of the Law of Tort § 15, at 43 (5th ed.

1950).

“An unavoidable accident is an occurrence which was not intended and which, under all the

circumstances,  could  not  have  been  foreseen  or  prevented  by  the  exercise  of  reasonable

precautions.  That  is,  an  accident  is  considered  unavoidable  or  inevitable  at  law  if  it  was  not

proximately  caused  by  the  negligence  of  any  party  to  the  action,  or  to  the  accident.”  W.  Page

Keeton et al., Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts § 29, at 162 (5th ed. 1984). [Blacks Law 8th]