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What Constitutes Force of Nature

An “act of god” is an unusual, extraordinary, sudden and unexpected manifestation of the forces of nature which cannot be prevented by human care, skill or foresight.  An act of God is an unusual, extraordinary and unexpected manifestation of the forces of nature, or a misfortune or accident arising from inevitable necessity.  An act of god cannot be prevented by reasonable human foresight and care.

The effect of ordinary natural causes may be foreseen and avoided by the exercise of human care.  For example, the fact that rain will leak through a defective roof is foreseeable.  In case of foreseeable causes, failure to take the necessary precautions constitutes negligence, and the party injured in the accident may be entitled to damages.  An act of God, however, is so extraordinary and devoid of human agency that reasonable care would not avoid the consequences.  Therefore in such cases the injured party has no right to damages.

Acts of god are generally attributable to forces of nature.  They are generally in the nature of accidents caused by tornadoes, perils of the sea, extraordinary floods, and severe ice storms.  However, fires are generally not considered acts of god unless they are caused by lightning.

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