An Act of God
An Act of God is an event caused by natural forces beyond human control, such as an earthquake, violent storm, lightning, or an unprecedented flood that cannot be reasonably anticipated or guarded against.
When is the party responsible
A party cannot escape responsibility for injury or damage unless it was proximately caused solely by the Act of God event. If the injury or damage was the result of the combined negligence of the party and the Act of God, the party is still liable. A subrogation professional should keep this in mind when dealing with falling trees, roofing claims, and freeze events. If a party fails to take precautions or does not adequately safeguard against the event, the party is still responsible.
When can a party recover
Can a party who sustains personal injury, property damage, or other harm during such an event recover against another person or entity? It is widely accepted in US and State Courts that an Act of God may serve as an affirmative defense to a negligence action, where the injury results from the event. While such a defense is frequently raised as an affirmative defense in negligence actions, there are circumstances under which another entity may be responsible for damages sustained during the course of such an event. If proper care and diligence on the part of a person or entity would have avoided certain damage, then the injury is not excusable.
What is an Act of God
When an Act of God occurs it is important to consider all potential sources of injury, including whether there is any actor who had a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid the harm, and if that actor met his duty. If there is an actor who failed to meet his duty of taking reasonable measures and precautions against the injury, then both an injured party, and/or his subrogee could maintain a negligence action against that actor. To discuss this or another matter, contact one of our subrogation lawyers.