Accidental Death Benefit Rider
An accidental death benefit rider is a separate life insurance policy or clause that pays the beneficiary when the insured dies by accident or accidental means. The primary difference between an accidental death benefit rider and a life insurance policy is the means of death. The accidental death benefit rider pays only when death is caused by accident – not by illness, natural death or intentional self-inflicted death (suicide).
An accidental death benefit rider is typically paid in addition to the deceased’s life insurance policy. Thus, the beneficiary often receives twice the amount if the death is caused by accidental means. These are often referred to as double indemnity policies.
Accidental Death Information
Accidental deaths are often referred to as unintentional deaths. As such, accidental deaths are unforeseeable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Unintentional injury deaths were the fourth most common cause of death in the US
- 135,928 deaths were caused by unintentional injuries
- 31,959 unintentional deaths were caused by falling
- 33,736 deaths were caused by motor vehicle traffic deaths
- 42,032 deaths were caused by poisoning (drug overdose is included in this category)
- Other leading causes of accidental deaths include drowning, choking, suffocation, fires/burns
Accidental Deaths and Unintentional Deaths Represent the Fourth Leading Cause of Death in the US
What are the top ten causes of death?
- Heart disease - 23.4%
- Cancer – 22.5%
- Chronic lower respiratory disease – 5.6%
- Accidents – Unintentional injuries – 5.2%
- Stroke – 5.1%
- Alzheimer’s – 3.6%
- Diabetes – 2.9%
- Influenza and pneumonia – 2.1%
- Kidney disease – 1.8%
- Suicide – 1.6%
The list above represents 74% of all deaths; about 26% are from other causes.
Drug Overdoses – Poisoning
Drug overdoses from legally prescribed drugs and illegal, non-prescribed drugs fall within the category of poisoning. According to the CDC:
“Poisoning is the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Drugs—both pharmaceutical and illicit—cause the vast majority of poisoning deaths.”
However, the CDC also noted that about 17% of death certificates failed to provide information that could identify the specific types of drugs in drug-poisoning deaths. For this and other reasons, life insurance companies often deny accidental death benefits in overdose deaths. It is crucial to retain the professional services of a qualified Accidental Death Benefit Attorney to preserve and protect your legal rights to your claim.
Was Your Accidental Death Benefit Claim Wrongfully Denied?
Life insurance companies have a duty to pay the beneficiary of an accidental death benefit claim when death occurred by accident. However, it is not uncommon for life insurance companies to deny a claim, stall, or otherwise engage in bad faith practices. Before a beneficiary is paid, the insured’s life insurance company will generally conduct an investigation to determine whether or not the cause of death was accidental. Nevertheless, accidental deaths claims are often wrongfully denied.
As noted above, overdose claims are often denied. The insurance company may claim that the deceased intentionally overdosed in order for his or her beneficiary to receive the death benefit payment. Or they may allege that the deceased was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of death and as such, contributed to or planned their own demise.
Life insurance companies often interpret the deceased’s toxicology reports for their own benefit – not for the benefit of the beneficiary. They may allege that there were illegal drugs or illegal quantities of drugs or alcohol in the deceased, thus nullifying the claim.
Or, the life insurance company may say that the insured had a medical condition that resulted in causing or contributing to their own death. Life insurance companies have many ways to deny an accidental death benefit claim.
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].