The word "accident" is derived from the Latin verb "accidere" signifying "fall upon, befall, happen, chance."
In an etymological sense anything that happens may be said to be an accident and in this sense, the word has been defined as befalling a change; a happening; an incident; an occurrence or event.
In its most commonly accepted meaning, or in its ordinary or popular sense, the word may be defined as merning: a fortuitous circumstance, event, or happening; an event happening without any human agency, or if happening wholly or partly through human agency, an event which under the circumstances is unusual and unexpected by the person to whom it happens; an unusual, fortuitous, unexpected, unforeseen or unlocked for event, happening or occurrence; an unusual or unexpected result attending the operation or performance of a usual or necessary act or event; chance or contingency; fortune; mishap; some sudden and unexpected event taking place without expectation, upon the instant, rather than something which continues, progresses or develops; something happening by chance; something unforeseen, unexpected, unusual, extraordinary or phenomenal, taking place not according to the usual course of things or events, out of the range of ordinary calculations; that which exists or occurs abnormally, or an uncommon occurrence.
The word may be employed as denoting a calamity, casualty, catastrophe, disaster, an undesirable or unfortunate happening; any unexpected personal injury resulting from any unlocked for mishap or occurrence; any unpleasant or unfortunate occurrence, that causes injury, loss, suffering or death; some untoward occurrence aside from the usual course of events. An event that takes place without one's foresight or expectation; an undesigned, sudden, and unexpected event. Kochring Co. v. American Auto. Ins. Co., C.A.Wis., 353 F.2d 993, 996.
See also act of God
- inevitable accident
- unavoidable accident.
Its synonyms are chance, contingency, mishap, mischance, misfortune, disaster, calamity, catastrophe
The word as used in automobile liability policy requiring notice of any "accident" to be given to the insurer as a condition precedent to liability means an untoward and unforeseen occurrence in the operation of the automobile which results in injury to the person or property of another. Ohio Casualty Ins. Co. v. Marr, C.C.A.Okl., 98 F.2d 973, 975.
The word "accident", requiring operator of vehicle to stop immediately in case of accident, contemplates any situation occurring on the highway wherein driver so operates his automobile as to cause injury to the property or person of another using the same highway.
Insurance contract.
An accident within accident insurance policies is an event happening without any human agency, or, if happening through such agency, an event which, under circumstances, is unusual and not expected by the person to whom it happens. A more comprehensive term than "negligence," and in its common signification the word means an unexpected happening without intention or design.
Maritime law.
"Accidents of navigation" or "accidents of the sea" are such as are peculiar to the sea or to usual navigation -or the action of the elements, which do not happen by the intervention of man, and are not to be avoided by the exercise of proper prudence, foresight, and skill. The G. R. Booth, 171 U.S. 450, 19 S.Ct. 9, 43 L.Ed. 234.
See also perils of the sea.
Unavoidable accident. One which is not occasioned in any degree, either directly or remotely, by the want of such care and prudence as the law holds every man bound to exercise. Vincent v. Johnson, Tex.Civ.App., 117 S.W.2d 135. One which could not have been prevented by exercise of due care by both parties under circumstances prevailing. Woodiwiss v. Rise, 3 Wash. App. 5, 471 P.2d 124, 126. One which occurs while all persons concerned are exercising ordinary care, which is not caused by fault of any of persons and which could not have been prevented by any means suggested by common prudence. Cavanaugh v. Jepson, Iowa, 167 N.W.2d 616, 623.
See Restatement, Second, Torts No. 8.
See also unavoidable accident.
Workers' compensation acts. Within meaning of Worker's Compensation Act is any unforeseen, untoward happening which was not to be reasonably anticipated. A.P Green Refractories Co. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Bd., 8 Pa.Cmwlth. 172, 301 A.2d 914, 917.
As referred to in Act is an unlooked for and untoward event which is not expected or designed by injured employee; a result produced by a fortuitous cause. Reams v. Burlington Industries, 42 N.C.App. 54, 255 S.E.2d 586, 587

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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