Client’s husband died from an overdose of a combination of prescribed drugs, including Oxycodone and Fentanyl.
Decedent had suffered from a very painful condition which required long-term use of the prescribed narcotics.
Over the last year before his death, he had been unable to work but had hidden that from his wife by pretending to go to work each day. He had been depressed and was in severe financial debt at the time of his death.
In order to avoid liability under an accidental death policy, MetLife claimed that the death was not “accidental”, but rather the result of suicide. However, Decedent’s wife insisted that he would not have committed suicide and leave her, and their son alone.
Stennett & Casino filed suit on behalf the widow to collect the benefits under the Accidental Death policy. After obtaining a statement from the medical examiner that death was accidental (supported by the low level of Oxycodone found in decedent’s post-mortem blood comparted to known suicides, the lack of a suicide note and other factors) Stennett & Casino was able to favorable resolve the widow’s claim with MetLife. With recent statistics showing that fentanyl overdose deaths have increased by over 200% in the last year, this will be an issue that insurance companies will continue to fight.