What happens if a motorist accused of causing an accident claims that it occurred due to an act of God? The act of god defense is rarely accepted, but there are isolated cases in which it may apply. In legal circles, an act of God is an overpowering event caused exclusively by natural forces, and which human beings could not have prevented.

It's essential to prove that the event (the one you are attributing to God), not only occurred without human activity but also that you (or anybody else) could not have prevented it. If a human being had a hand in causing the event, then he or she will be held responsible for the accident. At the same time, if it could have been prevented, then it wasn't caused by God. In this case, if the person who could have prevented it had a duty to do so but did not act, then he or she will be liable for the accident.

The following two examples will make this clearer:

Example One: Fracking, Earth Tremors, and Accidents

There are fears activities associated with the mining method of fracking can cause small earth tremors. Traditionally, earth tremors fall squarely within the realm of "acts of God." Consider an example where an earth tremor occurs and causes two cars to crash. If an investigation proves that fracking activities near the road caused the tremor, then the tremors will not be acts of God. In this case, the persons responsible for fracking may be held liable for the accident.

Example Two: When Sudden Blood Pressure Drop Causes an Accident

Syncope is a medical term describing the act of fainting (passing out) caused by a sudden drop in blood flowing to the brain. This condition can strike at any time, whether or not you have a medical condition. In short, it's not predictable.

Now suppose that this condition strikes when you are behind the wheel, and the car veers into others. In this case, who is responsible for the accident? You may escape liability for the accident if you can prove that this is exactly what happened. In fact, this has happened in the past, and the driver was successful with his defense.

An act of God defense may be possible, but it is extremely rare and complicated. After all, human beings need someone to blame; apportioning blame helps because it helps to identify those who should pay the damages. Contact a company like Cohen & Siegel LLP for more information.