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At the heart of general liability insurance is coverage for a policyholder’s liability for bodily injury and property damage caused by an “occurrence.” Since 1986, an “occurrence” has been defined in standard-form language as an “accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.”

Disputes surrounding the meaning of “occurrence” often involve the question of whether it is the act of the policyholder or the resulting injury that must be accidental. In many instances, the act and injury are either both intentional or accidental. An example of the first is when someone intends to cause bodily harm and succeeds, such as in a murder. An example of the latter is a typical auto accident where, while the act of driving is volitional, both the collision and any resulting bodily injury and property damage are wholly unintentional.

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Tonya Knudesn

 

PropertyCasualty360

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