Insurance companies describe accidental death as a purely accident-related occurrence. Car collision deaths, slaps, chokes, drowning, machinery, and any other unmanageable circumstances are considered to be accidental.
In the event of a tragic accident, death generally has to take place within a term stated in the policy. Some plans may also cover dismemberment – complete or partial loss of limbs, burns, paralysis, and other similar situations.
Let’s explore more about accidental death and understand what are the examples of accidental death exactly are.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Considered Accidental death?
- 2 What Is Considered Accidental Death for Insurance Purposes?
- 3 What Are The Examples of Accidental Death?
- 4 Is A Heart Attack Considered Accidental Death ?
- 5 Is Homicide Considered As An Accidental Death?
- 6 Is Stroke Considered As Accidental Death?
- 7 Final Words !
What Is Considered Accidental death?
If we go by definition they any death that happens due to accident, which is absolutely un-natural. Un-natural death are also of multiple types, for example a murder or a suicide, but those are not considered as an accidental death.
When it comes to accidental death people mostly consider vehicular accident, but there are other causes as well such as industrial accidents or drowning.
Some insurance may also include dismemberment – complete or partial loss of limbs – burns, paralysis, and similar situations. These riders are referred to as the accidental death and dismemberment insurance (AD&D).
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What Is Considered Accidental Death for Insurance Purposes?
This issue typically arises when it comes to an accidental death benefit rider or accident insurance, which may all pay a death benefit, but only if the death is attributed to an accident.
They need to know the particular cause of death before an insurance company considers death to be an accidental death. You obtain this information through what is known as a certified death certificate. The certified death certificate will have the clear mention of the cause of death.
When the family members of deceased apply for a claim, the insurance company will ask you to include certified death certificate because it contains the complete picture or description how exactly the insures has died.
While verifying a certified death certificate, if the insurance company found that the person died due to lung cancer, then it will not be considered as an accident. This is because lung cancer is not an accident but a disease.
But if the death certificate states that the individual died due to burn injury while working in a power plant the insurance company will treat it as an accident and will process the claim.
The death certificate is considered as the most authentic document to understand the exact cause of death or reason of death in most countries. Most insurance companies also consider the same.
However, there are certain states which do not fully contemplate on the death certificate the reason for death. The insurance provider will have to carry out an inquiry if this type of situation occurs.
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What Are The Examples of Accidental Death?
Any fatality which happens as a consequence of an accident is classified as an accident. Such deaths are considered accidental only if they are not planned (suicide), anticipated, or predicted to occur (illness).
Accidental deaths are differentiated by natural causes (illness) and deliberate murders and suicides. If a person was the unintended cause, an accidental death may nevertheless be deemed murder or suicide.
Accidental deaths occur every day in the headlines. Many various kinds of accidental fatalities resulting from unintended injury occur every day from individuals shot and murdered to deadly road accidents.
Let’s look at what are the examples and types of accidental death and have a deep understanding of them.
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Accidental Death Types
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), these are the main causes of unintentional death.
Poisoning is not considered as accidental death as unintentional poisoning was the main cause of accidental death. People get unintentionally intoxicated by mistake or by accidental surgery, by taking unwittingly too much prescription medicine, through ingestion or inhalation of hazardous chemicals.
These categories are divided into two sub-categories: gas and vapor poisoning (e.g. carbon monoxide poisoning) and solid and liquid poisoning (i.e. drugs and medications).
- Car crashes
Motor vehicle accidents were the second main cause of accident fatality. It’s terrible, but almost every day people get themselves into deadly car accidents. Motor vehicle accidents, including vehicles operated manually or electrically, are the leading source of involuntary death in the United States.
If you look at the statistics and increase in percent of vehicular accident in United States only, you will be surprised. It is a whooping number of 831%. This data is collected over a period of 100 years.
Second leading cause of accidental death are due to falls. This number is considered worldwide. The numbers are also really high. Every year, around 13,000 fatalities are caused by falls.
If we consider the age group, then people older than 65 age contribute the most number death due to falls. Falling from a height or inside bathroom or coming to rest to a ground level unintentionally is considered as death due to falls.
Many at times people don’t die, but they become permanently disable due to fall.
- Killing (or Homicide)
Unintentional death is being shot, stabbed, or killed by another person. Murder is an accidental death even though the killer you murdered deliberately. There are also all sorts of insane tales of individuals who have also murdered others for life insurance.
Suffocation in medical terms is called as Asphyxiation. By definition, when a human body does not get adequate oxygen, then they start suffocating. For example if someone is trapped inside a room filled with carbon dioxide or inhaled some toxic chemical or trapped inside a lift etc.
In medical and insurance terms suffocation is considered as accidental. However there are other examples of death which happens due to oxygen deprivation, but that is not considered as suffocation.
Drowning can also be categorized under suffocation. Because when a persons mouth and nose are submerged inside water or any type of liquid they can’t breathe oxygen. If not taken out immediately then it could lead to death.
As per World Health Organization(WHO) report it is considered as third leading cause of accidental death. In the year 2019 only 236,000 people died due to drowning. Mostly under-developed or developing countries report most of drowning cases.
- Fire or flames
Fire or burn is another form of unintentional death. The most frequent example is fire inside the home. This includes branding, asphyxiation, and fatalities caused by falling items during a fire.
It does not include those murdered in battle or people committing suicide with a firearm.
- Rash driving
Rash driving, reckless driving or aggressive driving, all come under same category. Driving while the driver is under the influence of alcohol, breaking traffic light, talking or texting on the phone while driving, changing lanes dangerously without any indicator will be considered as rash driving.
Because of rash driving many people loose their life. It is not only about the driver many innocent people like pedestrians loose their lives because of someone else’s mistake.
However death due to rash driving is considered as accidental death. But since this is a type of accident due to negligence insurance company may not entertain the claim.
- Adverse effect of drugs
How many people die from adverse drug reaction ? Have you ever thought of this question. A major chunk of accidental death happens due to consuming wrong drugs or adverse effect of drugs.
A major chunk of American people die due to medical negligence or due to prescription of incorrect drugs. This type of death also comes under accidental death and is covered by insurance companies.
- Additional accidents
These include medical problems caused by medical practitioners’ errors (e.g. operations), air traffic injuries, machine interactions, mechanical asphyxia, and the effect of a falling item.
- Industrial accidents
This may involve explosions, breakdowns of equipment, mining accidents, falling from a height, fire mishap inside a power plant and other work-related fatalities.
Industrial accidents can happen anywhere. It could be a construction site or a chemical factory or an oil refinery or it could even happen inside a textile mill. Sometimes the consequence of these accidents are really bad. People suffer miserably. People loose body parts, chemical accident could lead to cancer, loss of sense, eye sight etc.
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Is A Heart Attack Considered Accidental Death ?
As the word says accidental which means death due to something external or un-intentional. Thus insurance companies never consider heart attack as accidental death. It is considered as an ailment or disease, and death due to medical condition.
The death certificate also mentions the cause as “CRF”( Cardio Respiratory Failure). If insurance companies start considering this particular case as accident then they will have to consider every case as accident.
Before applying for any claim, we can go through the T&C of that particular policy. There could be a chance some insurance companies may cover heart attack under accident.
However you can challenge this in court of law. There are instances in some countries like India where court has given a verdict to consider heart attack as accident.
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Is Homicide Considered As An Accidental Death?
If you are looking from insurance point of view then homicide is considered as accidental death. Most of time there is an intent or purpose behind killing someone. So it is not necessarily accident always, but still insurance companies cover it.
Initially while purchasing the claim the insurer has to go through all the points and all the documents thoroughly to make sure which type of death are covered under accidental death.
Initially it may look like accidental death claim is simple, but in reality it is not. The family members of the insurer get exhausted by the number of enquiries done by the insurance company.
Accidental death is an unintentional accident death. While deliberate murders are often classed as killings, a person who is at fault for an accidental death may still be prosecuted with murder. They may also incur legal responsibility for an unlawful death.
Is Stroke Considered As Accidental Death?
Mortality of a natural death or natural causes is not an accidental death. Natural death is one in which you die of age or disease.
This would involve the death of old age. But obviously, humans don’t die from old age. Certain underlying medical conditions or illnesses are typically the reason.
Final Words !
This debate should show that accidental death insurance claims may be extremely complex. In most cases, a vehicle accident when alcohol or drugs are not a role, fall from a ladder or consume a dangerous chemical unintentionally is obvious.
However, some instances are not so readily categorized as accidental death, particularly if the insurer suffers from an underlying disease that has contributed to the eventual death or disintegration.
I hope through this article, “what are the examples of accidental death” you might have got an understanding of how the claim over insurance works.