In recent years, accidental death coverage has become popular. This is generally available in two different forms:

  • Standalone accidental death and dismemberment life insurance. This policy pays benefits if the insured dies in an accident or loses a limb or extremity. A policy of this type typically costs less than life insurance covering death from all causes.
  • A rider to a complete life insurance policy. This will offer a larger payout (often two or three times the regular policy benefit) if the insured person dies by accident. Often, the rider will also provide benefits for a dismemberment injury, even when the injury is not fatal. It usually has a slightly larger premium than a base insurance policy.

Some experts believe that accidental death life insurance is often a poor deal for consumers. They note that accidental death is fairly rare. The policy does not pay benefits if the insured person dies from illness or old age. Most people who purchase accidental death coverage will not obtain any extra money for their heirs. Owning this form of life insurance may also discourage people from purchasing comprehensive life insurance — a much better investment.

The worst part is that many life insurance companies regularly deny claims. When that happens, beneficiaries get nothing after an accidental death.

How Life Insurance Companies Deny an Accidental Death Claim

Insurance companies may refuse to pay benefits for an accidental death claim. They can do so by stating that the death was not the product of an accident. They have many tactics at hand to deny benefits. These include:

Claiming the death was deliberate. They can assert that the death was a suicide. May try to force the burden of proof on the beneficiary.

Saying the policyholder’s recklessness caused the death. For example, a death while engaged in a risky pursuit such as parachuting or mountain climbing may cause the insurance company to refuse to pay the beneficiary.

Arguing that a time delay between the accident and the death makes the insurance policy moot. Consider a case where someone is caught underwater in a public pool. The slips into a coma and dies 45 days later. The insurance company refuses to pay accidental death claim benefits because the death did not follow immediately after the accident.

Claiming that the immediate cause of death was not the accident. Our example case: a young woman is severely injured in a car crash. A day after she enters the hospital, it becomes evident that she is suffering from internal bleeding. During surgery, her spleen ruptures, and she dies from sudden blood loss. The insurance company denies the accidental death claim because the death was caused by a surgical injury, rather than by an injury sustained in the traffic accident.

Asserting that an non-covered medical problem caused the accident, and therefore the accidental death benefits are not available. Consider the case where a man suffers a stroke while driving his car, leading to a fatal highway crash. The insurance company may assert that the stroke—a medical problem not covered under accidental death rules—is the triggering incident that arguably would have lead to the insured person’s death, and on that basis they may refuse to pay benefits.

Getting a Fair Life Insurance Settlement for an Accidental Death Claim

Our life insurance lawyers have noticed that many insurance companies have no shame when it comes to exploiting the grief of a family wounded by an unexpected death. The insurance executives know that you are in no mood to press your claim at this difficult time, so they are happy to try denying benefits on flimsy grounds. They see it as a no-risk exercise: if you fail to demand the settlement you deserve, then they keep the money.

Our network of life insurance attorneys isn’t satisfied to watch you get exploited like that. If you believe the company is unfairly trying to contest your life insurance claim, you need to look for someone with the experience in the law and familiarity with insurance company deceit. We are the allies you need. We can negotiate aggressively with the insurance company from a position of strength because we have the facts on our side, but we’re not afraid to take the case to the courtroom if we can’t get a good settlement offer.

Contact us today at (215) 531-7961 to schedule a free case evaluation if you have a problem with denial of your life insurance benefits. Our attorneys work with clients across the United States and accept no legal fees unless we can get you a recovery.