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An 'accident' is defined in Minnesota in the landmark case of Hauenstein v. St. Paul-Mercury Indemnity Co., 242 Minn. 354, 65 N.W.2d 122 (1954), as follows: Accident is an unexpected, unforeseen, or undesigned happening or consequence from either a known or an unknown cause. Id. at 358-59, 65 N.W.2d at 126. 


Before 1966, the standard comprehensive general liability policy covered only property and personal injury damage that was caused by 'accident.' Broadwell Realty Servs., Inc. v. Fidelity & Casualty Co. of New York, 218 N.J. Super. 516, 528 A.2d 76, 84 (N.J. Super. Ct. 1987); Just, 456 N.W.2d at 574. The term 'accident' was undefined in policies, and courts reached differing conclusions as to exactly what type of damage was covered. In defining the term 'accident,' most courts agreed that the term referred to damage caused by an unintentional or unexpected event. But some found that damage caused by gradual pollution was covered, while others did not. Just, 456 N.W.2d at 574. To clarify this confusion, in 1966 the insurance industry switched from 'accident-based' comprehensive general liability policies to 'occurrence-based' policies. Kenneth S. Abraham, Environmental Liability Insurance Law 155 (1991). In the occurrence-based ...

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