Visitor Question

Do We Have an Insurance Claim for Accidental Death in the Hospital?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Alabama)

My father, age 82, fell down on the sidewalk downtown and was taken to the emergency room by ambulance. They found he had broken his right arm in two places and had injured his neck. His neck was operated on at that hospital two days later, then he was sent to a rehabilitation facility.

About a week or so later he had an operation on his right arm for the break in his elbow at another hospital. He was sent back to the rehab center and while there he started having breathing problems.

They sent him back to the hospital by ambulance where he was intubated and put in the coronary care unit. A while later they removed the breathing tube and he was put in a special unit at the hospital to get him off the oxygen mask he now needed. He died in that unit of chronic respiratory failure.

Is this an instance of accidental death, since he didn’t have the respiratory problem when he fell?

He had two accidental life insurance policies and I don’t know if they would consider this as accidental death. The death certificate was filled out by the last doctor who was in charge of his care in the special unit and he listed it as chronic respiratory failure, pneumonia and natural causes. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

Unless there is some credible evidence linking your Dad’s chronic respiratory failure and pneumonia to his death, the likelihood of prevailing in a claim against any of the medical providers is remote.

As you know the word “chronic” means your dad had been suffering from respiratory failure for some time. Pneumonia is one of the resultant effects of respiratory failure.

Although injuring his neck and breaking his arm, combined with transfers from one medical provider to another certainly didn’t help his medical condition, it would be very difficult to conclusively prove those circumstances contributed to, or hastened his death.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: March 10, 2011

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2 thoughts on “Do We Have an Insurance Claim for Accidental Death in the Hospital?

  1. My mom fell out of a hospital bed and bled to death. I’m wondering if we’ll be able to file a claim under her accidental life insurance. Her death certificate states hemorrhage.

  2. The question was not if there is a claim against the medical personnel or hospitals, but if the death qualifies as accidental to claim against the insurance company?

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