Legal Definition and Related Resources of Accident

Meaning of Accident

Accident Alternative Definition

(Lat. aecidere, ad, to, and cadere, to fall). An event which, under the circumstances, is unusual and unexpected by the person to whom it happens. The happening of an event without the concurrence of the will of the person by whose agency it was caused; or the happening of an event without any human agency. 32 Conn. 85. See “Inevitable Accident.” In Equity Practice. Such an unforeseen event, misfortune, loss, act, or omission as is not the result of any negligence or misconduct in the party. Story, Eq. Jur. § 78; 85 Conn. 198. An occurrence in relation to a contract which was not anticipated by the parties when the same was entered into, and which gives an undue advantage to one of them over the other in a court of law. Jeremy, Eq. 358. This definition is objected to, because, as accidents may arise in relation to other things besides contracts, it is inaccurate in confining accidents to contracts; besides, it does not exclude cases of unanticipated occurrences resulting from the negligence or misconduct of the party seeking relief. See, also, 1 Spence, Eq. Jur. 628. An unforeseen or unexpected event occurring external to the party affected by it, and of which his own agency is not the proximate cause, whereby, contrary to his own intention and wish, he loses some right which it would be a violation of good conscience for the person obtaining to retain. 2 Pom. Eq. Jur. § 823. It differs from “mistake” in that the latter is based on a voluntary action of the person affected under a mistaken Impression.

Synonyms of Accident

(Chance occurence), noun

  • adventitiousness
  • befalling
  • blind chance
  • casus
  • circumstance
  • fortuitous event
  • fortuity
  • happening
  • hazard
  • incident
  • inevitable occurrence
  • sudden happening
  • unanticipated event
  • undesigned occurrence
  • unexpected misfortune
  • unexpected occurrence
  • unforeseen occurrence
  • Associated Concepts: accidental cause
  • accidental loss
  • accidental means

(Misfortune), noun

  • adversity
  • affliction
  • calamity
  • casualty
  • contretemps
  • disaster
  • injurious occurrence
  • misadventure
  • miscarriage
  • mischance
  • mishap
  • unfortunate event Associated Concepts: accident arising out of the course of employment
  • accidental bodily injury
  • accidental fires
  • collision
  • disability caused by an accident
  • expectable loss
  • external
  • foreseeable loss
  • violent and accidental means

Related Entries of Accident in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Accident in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Accident in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Accident in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Accident in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Act Of God, Acting Within Scope Of Employment, Actuary, Ambulance Chaser, As Soon As Practicable, Campbell’s Act, Casualty, Chance, Compensable, Damage, Demand, Derelict, Dereliction, Exemplary Damages, Inevitable Accident, Insurance, Knowingly, Last Chance, Last Clear Chance, Lost Or Not Lost, Malice Aforethought, Perils Of The Sea, Physical, Proximate Cause.

What does Accident mean in American Law?

The definition of Accident in the law of the United States, as defined by the lexicographer Arthur Leff in his legal dictionary is:

1. A state of affairs or incident brought about by accidental means. Though the connotation is not necessary, perhaps because of the ubiquitous term “automobile accident,” there is frequently some implication of violence or injury also connected to the term. See accidental for a more thorough discussion. See also inevitable accident; unavoidable accident.

2. In Aristotelian terminology, a property of a thing or concept which it has but need not have, i.e., a property not necessary to make it what it is. See Encyclopedia of Philosophy under heading “Logical Terms, Glossary Of.” This meaning of the term is not particularly important in law (or, for that matter, in logic either these days). It does occasionally show up, however, in 19th century and earlier opinions by judges wrestling with questions about “essences,” including the legendary mutual mistake case involving the famous cow, “Rose 2d of Aberlone,” Sherwood v. Walker, 66 Mich. 568, 33 N.W. 919 (1887).


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Accident in the Dictionary Accident in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Accident
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Accident in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Accident Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Accident (more about URIs)

Accident in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of accident.


Legal English Vocabulary: Accident in Spanish

Online translation of the English legal term accident into Spanish: accidente (English to Spanish translation) . More about legal dictionary from english to spanish online.

Related to the Legal Thesaurus


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

Cerebrovascular accident in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of cerebrovascular accident.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Accident

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Accident :

See fatal accidents; mistake; road traffic accidents.


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