Many insurance companies deny beneficiaries' claims based on the assertion that the policyholder died as a result of self-inflicted injuries. Self-inflicted injury is intentional injury caused by the person injured. For life and health insurance purposes, self-inflicted injury typically is not covered by accident policies, because it is intentional, not an accident. Self-inflicted injuries may include a wide variety of conditions. A common one is drunk driving. Insurance companies often claim that if a person is injured while driving drunk, the injuries are intentionally self-inflicted.
A recent case of a Houston widow whose life insurance benefits were denied is an example of such practices. The widow sued Cigna for more than $200,000. According to the lawsuit, Cigna told the widow that since her husband would have been aware of the risks involved in operating his vehicle while under the influence, his death was a foreseeable result of his actions and thus not an accident. Cigna also informed the widow that driving drunk is conduct that must be deterred and since her husband was intoxicated, his death was the result of intentionally self-inflicted injuries.
The widow appealed Cigna's denial of the claim, and provided an affidavit from the medical examiner who stated that there was no evidence that her late husband anticipated his death or was trying to hurt himself. Cigna denied the appeal reasserting that her husband did not die in an accident. The insurance policy doesn't exclude accidental death as a result of intoxication. And since it doesn't exclude it, it's clearly covered. According to the lawsuit, Cigna denied the benefits to reduce the number of claims the company pays as a way to increase its profits.
If your life insurance claim has been denied and the insurance company claims that the policyholder died of self-inflicted injuries, call our life insurance attorneys for help. We can help you recover the benefits due to you!