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Insurance policies often have long lists of exclusions for damage caused by force majeure. Policyholders should carefully review their policies to see what types of damage caused by force majeure are covered. Then, they can make informed decisions about purchasing additional insurance to protect themselves and their property against certain risks. In a contract, you will usually find force majeure clauses at the end of the contract. Unfortunately, since force majeure clauses are included in other model clauses, there is usually little discussion about the impact the clause will have on the parties. While this may not cause problems depending on the nature of your contract, you should consider how unforeseen natural events may affect your ability to meet your obligations. Some contracts contain a force majeure or force majeure clause. A force majeure clause specifies what happens to the obligations imposed by the contract if its conditions cannot be fulfilled due to an event beyond the control of the parties. For example, a force majeure clause may state that neither party is liable for the failure to perform its obligations under the contract if the breach is due to events beyond the reasonable control of the party. A list of the types of events that trigger the application of the clause is often provided.

This can include natural disasters or the outbreak of wars. As forces of nature, droughts are generally understood as force majeure events. Government measures, including war, can in many cases be considered force majeure. However, you should understand that force majeure events are not limited to these categories. In fact, many contracts describe exactly what constitutes one of these events. In recent years, scientific advances in predicting and anticipating natural events have led some scholars to question the continued defense of God`s law. Nevertheless, the wide range of lawsuits arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, such as JN Contemporary Art v. Phillips Auctioneers LLC, successfully raises this defense to emphasize that force majeure is still relevant today. Force majeure may also be a defence against tortious infringement if the act or omission on which the claim is based resulted from a circumstance that could not have been foreseen and could not have been prevented. If force majeure is responsible for what happened, a party cannot be held responsible. Similarly, governments must exercise due diligence to prevent disasters. Suppose a state fails to maintain a dam that has broken and caused great damage to a community.

This is not an act of God. Intense rains can cause water to swell, but flooding is a direct result of the government`s lack of action to maintain water retention systems. Individuals cannot escape liability in tort if they could reasonably have foreseen and prepared for the incident in question. For example, a building owner could be held liable if lightning injures occupants and proper precautions were not taken prior to the storm. The term “force majeure” is particularly relevant both in the field of the environment and in the drafting of contracts. Since no human being is responsible for force majeure, the argument that an event is a case of force majeure can serve as a defence to avoid liability. Nevertheless, many environmental laws tend to narrowly define a superior law, limiting the application of this defense to the most extreme cases. A particularly interesting example is that of “rainmaker” Charles Hatfield, who was hired by the city of San Diego in 1915 to fill the Morena reservoir with rainwater for $10,000. The area was quickly flooded by heavy rains that nearly broke the reservoir dam, killing nearly 20 people, destroying 110 bridges (leaving 2), cutting telephone and telegraph lines, and causing total damage estimated at $3.5 million. When the city refused to pay him (he forgot to sign the contract), he sued the city.

The floods were classified as force majeure and excluded him from any liability, but also from payment. Cases where the force majeure defense has been used include: Some force majeure clauses require one party to notify the other party of the event it is relying on and describe any steps it has taken to resume the contract. The clause may allow a party to terminate the contract in the event of force majeure. Others accept unfortunate events as part of life[15] and refer to Matthew 5:45 (NKJV): “For he causes his sun to rise over evil and good, and rains rain rain on the righteous and the unjust. A force majeure clause, if included in an insurance contract, covers events beyond human control.3 min read A force majeure event is a natural disaster that no one can prevent, such as an earthquake, tidal wave, volcanic eruption, hurricane or tornado. Force majeure is generally considered to be an act attributable to nature without human intervention. For example, damage caused by a tornado or lightning would be considered force majeure. Damage is not considered force majeure if it is caused by the owner. In all uses of the English language, force majeure[2] is a natural hazard beyond human control, such as an earthquake or tsunami, for which no one can be held responsible. Force majeure may constitute an exception to liability in contracts (as under the Hague-Visby Rules)[3] or an “insured risk” in an insurance policy.

[4] A judge ruled that flooding in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina (an act of force majeure) was an act of negligence, citing that the U.S. Army Corps was not properly maintaining flood defense. As a general rule, a party cannot invoke a force majeure clause if the circumstance already existed at the time of signing the contract. In addition to force majeure, force majeure clauses may include embargoes and unusual weather conditions, war and strikes. In general, a health problem such as cancer would not be considered a case of force majeure. That is, sudden cancer diagnoses are similar to force majeure events because they are unpredictable and uncontrollable. While some contracts contain a force majeure clause, they are unusual in other contracts, such as a marriage contract. For example, many insurance policies exclude force majeure related to floods. If you live in a flood-prone area, you may need to purchase separate flood insurance.

Other insurance policies cover damage to a home caused by force majeure, but do not cover damage to surrounding buildings. So, your home might have flood damage coverage, but not your detached garage. Christian theologians differ in their views and interpretations of Scripture. [11] R.C. Sproul implies that God causes a catastrophe when he speaks of divine providence: “In a universe ruled by God, there are no random events.” [12] Others point out that God can allow tragedy to happen. [13] [14] Force majeure has legal meaning because “force majeure” is a legal excuse to delay or non-perform an obligation or the completion of a construction project. Many insurance policies do not cover damage caused by force majeure. Sometimes disputes arise as to whether a severe storm or other disaster was a force majeure event (and therefore exempt from a claim) or a foreseeable natural event.

This defence prevents a jury from holding a party responsible for an accident it could not have controlled. Although this defense is rare, its prevalence may increase as global warming causes an increase in weather-related natural disasters.