What Does the Term “Double Indemnity” Mean?
Double indemnity refers to a clause in a life insurance policy in which an insurer agrees to pay a stated amount in case of accidental death. Under a double indemnity clause, the insurer must pay beneficiaries at least twice the amount of the policy, and sometimes up to triple or more the policy’s face value. These policies can be highly beneficial for a variety of people, but it should be understood that not all life insurance policies offer this type of coverage. The circumstances of your loved one’s death must also fit within the policy’s guidelines to qualify for double indemnity benefits.
Unexpectedly losing a loved one in an accident is a tragedy and can cause many financial difficulties for your family. Life insurance policies are meant to provide a safety net when the unthinkable happens, but sometimes the insurance company refuses to pay the full amount of the policy. If you are experiencing an issue with an insurance company paying your claim on a double indemnity policy, you need to speak with a qualified lawyer immediately. Contact Khan Injury Law today and ask to schedule a free consultation so that we may answer your questions and explain your legal options for appealing the denial.
What is Considered an Accidental Death?
If a beneficiary wishes to claim the accidental death clause on a life insurance policy, they must prove that their loved one died as the result of a qualifying incident. Most insurers define accidental death as an incident that occurs outside the control of the insured party. Typically, if your loved one’s death meets the guidelines for a wrongful death lawsuit, it should also qualify for double indemnity benefits. However, keep in mind that most policies have time limits on how many days can elapse between the fatal accident and the date of death. Often, they must occur within 365 days of each other.
Family members will likely be able to prove accidental death if the insured individual passed away due to a preventable accident caused by another party’s negligence or from an intentional act, such as:
- Motor vehicle crash
- Drowning accident
- Slip and fall
- Defective products or machinery malfunctions
- Medical malpractice
- Boating accident
- Workplace accident
How Do You Prove a Death Was Accidental?
Collecting life insurance after an accidental death can require a lengthy process. Since the payout for double indemnity claims is often substantial, insurers will take the time to investigate the claim thoroughly. Simply having a death certificate that lists the cause of death as accidental is generally not considered sufficient proof. You will likely be asked to provide further documentation to support your claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you collect and present the required information, such as:
- Coroner’s report
- Police report
- Toxicology report
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical records
- Expert testimony
- Accident reconstructions
Can an Insurance Company Deny A Double Indemnity Claim?
Unfortunately, denials of double indemnity claims are widespread. One reason is that accidental death is less frequent than you might imagine and only accounts for about 5% of all deaths in the US annually. Additionally, it is critical to remember that insurers are for-profit businesses, meaning they take every measure possible to cut expenses.
This includes finding all potential reasons to deny a high-value claim.
The details of a double indemnity clause provide many opportunities for insurers to deny a claim. Every life insurance policy outlines multiple exclusions to double indemnity payouts, and insurers will utilize this language to avoid liability on most claims. Some standard exclusions include:
- Suicide, regardless of the decedent’s mental state or health.
- Death from natural causes, such as a medical condition or illness.
- Death that occurred while the decedent was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Death that was related to negligence on the part of the deceased.
- Death from extreme activities, such as skydiving.
- Death from surgery or surgical complications that are not related to medical malpractice.
- Death that occurs during the commission of a crime.
- Murder organized by the decedent or a beneficiary.
Can a Law Firm Assist Me if the Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
Much like any other insurance claim, insurers evaluate double indemnity claims based on the circumstances surrounding the incident. If the insurance company tries to deny your double indemnity claim, our law firm can assist you with appealing their decision or negotiating a fair settlement. Our attorneys have extensive experience in successfully handling accidental death claims and will work diligently to recover the compensation you deserve.
Once we agree to take your case, our legal team will immediately begin working to collect evidence and witness testimony to strengthen your claim. In addition, we will act as your legal advocate with the insurance company as we work to negotiate a settlement that is in your best interests.
Why Choose Our Law Firm to Help With a Double Indemnity Claim?
Khan Injury Law has a proven track record of successfully negotiating with insurance companies to obtain results that are fully favorable to our clients. We understand the challenges your family is facing during this difficult time and how overwhelming it can feel to take on an uncooperative insurance company. Our highly qualified attorneys are passionately committed to helping those who have lost loved ones to accidental death recover the total amount outlined in their life insurance policy.
If the insurance company is trying to delay, deny, or undervalue your double indemnity claim, you need to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. Prompt action can be vital to the success of your appeal. Contact our Seattle law firm today by calling (206) 430-6096 and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.