Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary


  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    Incapable of being avoided; fortuitous; transcending the power of human care, foresight or exertion to avoid or prevent, and therefore suspending legal relations so far as to excuse from the performance of contract obligations or from liability for consequent loss.
    —Inevitable accident. An inevitable accident is one produced by an irresistible physical cause; an accident which cannot be prevented by human skill or foresight, but results from natural causes, such as lightning or storms, perils of the sea, inundations or earthquakes, or sudden death or illness. By irresistible force is meant an interposition of human agency, from its nature and power absolutely uncontrollable. Brousseau v. The Hudson, 11 La. Ann. 428; State v. Lewis, 107 N. C. 967, 12 S. E. 457, 11 L. R. A. 105; Russell v. Fagan. 7 Houst. (Del.) 389, 8 Atl. 258; Hall . Cheney, 36 N. H. 30; Newport News & M. V. Co. v. U. S.. 61 Fed. 488, 9 C. C. A. 579; The R. L. Mabey, 14 Wall. 215, 20 L. Ed. 881; The Locklibo, 3 W. Rob. 318. Inevitable accident is where a vessel is pursuing a lawful avocation in a lawful manner, using the proper precautions against danger, and an accident occurs. The highest degree of caution that can be used is not required. It is enough that it is reasonable under the circumstances; such as is. usual in similar cases, and has been found by long experience to be sufficient to answer the end in view,—the safety of life and property. The Grace Girdler, 7 Wall. 196, 19 Lt Ed. 113. Inevitable accident is only when the disaster happens from natural causes, without negligence or fault on either side, and when both parties have endeavored, by every means in their power, with due care and caution, and with a proper display of nautical skill, to prevent the occurrence of the accident. Sampson v. U. S., 12 Ct. Cl. 491.