Hunter & Cassidy Law

Is “act of God” a real defense against car accident claims?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Motor vehicle accidents

Missouri rain can become a real downpour, but when a storm leads to a car accident, the other driver’s insurance company might try to use the weather as an excuse. They might claim an act of God or nature caused the collision, potentially absolving the driver of any fault.

But what does it mean in insurance law, and could it impact your accident claim?

What is an act of God in legal terms?

It refers to an accident and injury-causing event that could not be prevented — meaning the other driver or their insurer may not be financially responsible. As a defense to a car accident claim, an act of God must meet three criteria.

Unpredictable and caused by nature rather than human intervention

Think sudden, severe thunderstorms, hailstorms or tornadoes. Not every bad weather event qualifies. A light drizzle wouldn’t be considered an act of God, but a blizzard that shuts down highways might.

Unforeseeable and not something someone could anticipate

Say it’s raining heavily with decent visibility. A driver behind you speeds up and hydroplanes, slamming into your car. Since it involves reckless driving in bad weather, it is not an act of God.

Unavoidable, even when drivers use proper care and caution

Imagine a massive tree branch crashing down during a hurricane, causing a collision – that might be considered unavoidable. Drunk driving and causing a crash during a storm is negligence — not nature.

Claims with a potential act of God defense can get extremely complicated due to policy limits, clauses and “fine print” requirements. If your accident occurred amid any hazardous conditions, experienced legal guidance can help you prepare for a possible act of nature defense, safeguarding your compensation.