Accidental Death

Back to Insights

Papotto v. Hartford Life & Acc.Ins.Co., 2013 U.S.App.LEXIS 19660

Papotto v. Hartford Life & Acc.Ins.Co., 2013 U.S.App.LEXIS 19660 (3d Cir. September 26, 2013) is a significant recently issued case involving ERISA civil procedure. The underlying issue in this case dealt with an accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy. The policy excluded losses “sustained while Intoxicated.” Because the decedent had consumed alcohol prior to his […]

Scope of review: Buzzanga v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Amer.

Buzzanga v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Amer., 2013 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 1348 (E.D.Mo. January 4, 2013) (Issue: Scope of Review). This case involves an accidental death claim asserted after the plaintiff’s husband was killed in a single-car accident. The insurer denied the claim, maintaining the decedent’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit and therefore […]

Insurance ruling strays from precedent in drunken driving case

When an intoxicated driver dies in a collision, can his survivors collect under an accidental death insurance policy? Most courts deem such an occurrence an accident; however, in Whinery v. Life Ins.Co. of North America, 2012 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 160667 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 7, 2012), the court upheld an insurer’s benefit denial under a deferential standard of review. […]

Courts see more accidental death claims

In addition to disability insurance claims, accidental death claims are the frequent subject of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation. One recent ruling was cited by the website, Above the Law, as “A Self-Abuse of Discretion? (Or: The most interesting ERISA opinion ever.)” abovethelaw.com/?s=self-abuse. In Martin v. Hartford Life and Acc.Ins.Co., 2012 U.S.App.LEXIS 7879 […]

Accidental death benefits to survivors of drunken drivers

The issue of whether accidental death benefits are payable to the survivors of drunken drivers has been the subject of numerous reported decisions over the past 20 years. Surprisingly, despite insurers’ efforts to exclude coverage under accidental death insurance policies under such circumstances, policies still exist that lack an explicit exclusion for deaths occurring where […]

Get to the truth on the matter

An interesting case involving accidental death and dismemberment benefits was recently issued by the 10th Circuit. In  Rasenack v. AIG Life Ins. Co., 2009 U.S.App.LEXIS 24027 (10th Circuit. Nov. 2, 2009), the court discussed a number of issues affecting claims arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. […]