Duhaime's Law Dictionary Accident Definition: An unlooked for mishap or occurrence. Related Terms: Act of God, Actus Dei Nemini Facit Injuriam The traditional common law definition comes from the oft-cited words in Fenton v. Thorley: "The word accident is not a technical legal term with a clearly defined meaning. Speaking generally, but with reference to legal liabilities, an accident means any unintended and unexpected occurrence which produces hurt or loss. "But it is often used to denote any unintended and unexpected loss or hurt apart from its cause; and if the cause is not known the loss or hurt itself would certainly be called an accident. The word accident is also often used to denote both the cause and the effect, no attempt being made to discriminate between them." Welford wrote: "The word accident involves the idea of something fortuitous and unexpected, as opposed to something proceeding from natural causes; and injury caused by accident is to be regarded as the antithesis to bodily infirmity caused by disease in the ordinary course of events." REFERENCES: Co-operators Life Insurance Co. v. Gibbens, 2009 SCC 59 Duhaime, Lloyd, Duhaime's Legal Dictionary Duhaime, Lloyd, Duhaime's Legal Citations & Abbreviations Fenton v. J. Thorley & Co., 1903 A.C. 443 Mutual of Omaha v. Stats,  2 S.C.R. 1153 Welford, A. W. Baker, The Law Relating to Accident Insurance, 2nd ed. (London: Butterworths, 1932) Categories & Topics: Duhaime's Insurance Law Dictionary Duhaime's Tort and Personal Injury Law Dictionary Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only) If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!