Often, life insurance companies will try to deny life insurance claim based on the fact that the policyholder was intoxicated at the time of his/her death. However, intoxication is not automatic grounds for denial. The following is an example of a case where a widow contested a wrongful life insurance claim denial.
The wife of an Oregon man who died in a kitchen accident sued his life insurance company. She says the company is refusing to pay because her late husband had been drinking that day. She was seeking $1.3 million from Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co. Her husband was home alone on the day of his death when he apparently dropped a domed glass cake cover. It shattered, a sharp edge severed a main artery in his left foot and the 68-year-old man bled to death.
The Oregon medical examiner's office listed a single cause of death: a sharp force foot injury that caused Vinson to bleed out.
The widow was shocked when the insurance company denied her claim to $386,000 from her husband's life insurance policy and a related benefit to cover school expenses for their 19-year-old daughter who is in college. She is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The insurance company denied it, and cited it was a DUI under Oregon law.
The insurance company claimed that his death did not result from bodily injury resulting directly and independently of all other causes from an accident, as his policy required. The company also cited a policy exclusion for any injury sustained while the Covered Person is legally intoxicated from the use of alcohol.
In her lawsuit, she maintained intoxication was a condition at death, as well as other medical problems. But none of those conditions were listed as causal factors in his death. The widow also challenged Hartford's assertion that Oregon's driving under the influence blood alcohol standard equates to legal intoxication, as no Oregon law states it is unlawful to be intoxicated, by any definition, in the privacy of one's home.
Our firm is dedicated to helping families recover the life insurance awards allowed to them under the law. Do not let big and powerful insurance companies wrongfully deny your life insurance claim. Call our life insurance attorneys now to see how we can help you get the death benefits to which you are entitled.