Inevitable Accident Vs Act of God

Over the course of its existence, tort law has changed. The rejection of compensation claims is based on a few principles. These counterclaims or defenses are employed to release from tort liability those individuals who have been wrongfully accused and subjected to erroneous claims. To stay current with the grounds for imposing tortious liability on a person, several defenses have occasionally been developed. A tort can be defended against in a variety of ways, including by pointing out necessity, inevitable accidents, or an act of God.

Meaning of Inevitable Accident

Any occurrence that neither party could have avoided is not included in an "inevitable accident" since it could not have been avoided by using reasonable care, prudence, and skill.

Conceptual Import of Inevitable Accident

When the law regarding trespassing was different, even an innocent trespass may be grounds for legal action unless the defendant could demonstrate that the accident was created because it was unavoidable in nature. In those circumstances, the defense of an unavoidable accident used to be particularly relevant. For a long time, it was believed that the burden of proof in trespass cases fell on the defendant and that trespass provided some room for the idea of inevitable accidents.

However, it has since been established that the burden of proof in trespass cases falls on the claimant. Because the plaintiff has the burden of proving the defendant's negligence, the perception of inevitable accidents is irrelevant in cases involving trespass as well as negligence. However, even if the plaintiff does not have this burden, the concept would still be relevant.

Meaning of Act of God

The defendant can shield himself from responsibility by asserting a strong defense such as an act of God, vis major, or force majeure. It is similar to an inevitable accident, except that in the case of a divine act, the damage is brought on by the action of natural forces, such as unusually strong rainfall, hurricanes, tempests, tides, volcanic eruptions, etc.

The two key components needed for this defense are

  • A natural force must be at work.

  • The occurrence must be extraordinary and not one that could be reasonably predicted and protected against.

Conceptual Import of Act of God

An act of God is defined as a direct, unexpected, outrageously ferocious, natural, and tempting act of nature that could not have been anticipated with any degree of care or, if anticipated, could not have been prevented with any degree of care by any individual. Since the beginning of our planet's existence, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, etc. have plagued mankind.

These disasters are known as acts of God. When nature's powers strike forcefully and unexpectedly, lives are lost and properties are destroyed or severely damaged. Natural disaster victims and even the alleged perpetrators or tortfeasors may experience a great shock or surprise as a result of nature's blows, which are extremely dangerous. The defense of an act of God is frequently raised by the defendants in these situations.

There must be an immediate or proximate cause (Causa causans) and not only a cause that, had it not existed, might not have resulted in the damage caused or complained of in order to enable the defense of vis major (Causa sine quo non). The defendant must establish that they have taken every precaution that a wise and reasonable person would have in their position before an act of God can be used as a defense.

Distinction Between an Inevitable Accident and an Act of God

The given table illustrates the major differences between inevitable accident and act of god −

Inevitable AccidentAct of God
Inevitable accidents might occur due to natural causes, human activity, or both.On the other hand, acts of God happens without the involvement of human agency and are solely caused by natural forces.
In cases of inescapable accidents, the courts have the discretion to decide whether the defendant is liable for torts.In cases where they lack discretion, the courts must render a decision in order to support the defendant's tortious liability resulting from an act of God.
Building collapses, train wrecks, and road accidents are a few examplesStorms, tremors, volcanic eruptions, etc. are examples of acts of God.

An unavoidable accident can be either averted or controlled if increased care and caution are used, but when a divine act occurs, neither prevention nor control are possible.


Accidents that happen against the desire of a man as well as in spite of all attempts a man may make to prevent them from happening are those that are physically unavoidable and cannot be avoided through human ability or foresight. An act of God, on the other hand, is an accident brought on by the actions of tremendous natural forces, and as such, it is the result of those forces, which are unpredictable and uncontrollable, and as a result, might result in total destruction or loss on a huge scale.

But as science advances, it may one day be possible to foresee a behavior that may be brought on by the acts of natural forces and perhaps even to some extent control such forces.


Q1. What distinguishes criminal law from tort law?

Ans. A crime is an illegitimate act that has an impact on the entire friendly request, where our social orders are found, but a tort is an offense committed against a specific individual.

Q2. What effects does tort law have on society?

Ans. The main goal of tort law is to create a framework that holds people accountable for the injuries they cause while also discouraging others from doing the same. Tort case winners may file claims for pain and suffering, lost wages or other limits on their ability to acquire goods, and medical costs.

Q3. What do you mean by intentional tort?

Ans. Acts that intentionally cause harm to another person or interfere with their right to freedom from imprisonment, emotional stability, privacy, and control over their property are known as intentional torts. Assault and/or battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, theft, property destruction, fraud or other deception, and trespassing are examples of intentional torts.

Q4. What do you mean by negligence?

Ans. Negligence is the legal term for failing to behave in a way that protects society from unjustified danger. The foundation of tort law is negligence, which is a major consideration in the majority of personal injury and property damage cases.

Q5. What do you mean by Assault?

Ans. Generally speaking, the crime of willfully putting another person in fear of impending physical danger or offensive contact is referred to as assault.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023

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