Many life insurance policies provide for benefits, in addition to the face amount of the policies, when an insured dies as a result of an accident. These extra benefits can be significant, as many policies will pay twice the face amount of the policy, where the insured’s death is by accident.
While insurance companies market accidental death benefits as a way to provide families and dependents with extra security, many policies include clauses (or exclusions) that allow them to deny coverage for these benefits even if the insured died of an accident. As a result, claims for accidental death benefits can be complex and fact-intensive.
For example, in Duncan v. Minnesota Life Ins. Co. (S.D. Ohio 2020), the Decedent was insured under a policy issued by Minnesota Life. While hospitalized for complications of leukemia, he stood up from his wheelchair and fell to the floor. He died later that day at the age of 65.
The Decedent’s death certificate stated that the immediate cause of death was a subdural hematoma, while describing the manner of death as “accidental.”