Autoerotic Asphyxiation & Accidental Death Policy

The Issues with Autoerotic Asphyxiation

The main issue on this subject is whether autoerotic asphyxiation qualifies as an accident. If it does, then something else to consider is the eligibility for payment of accidental death benefits. Courts across the country are divided on this highly contested issue. Autoerotic asphyxiation is the practice in which people cut air supply in order to achieve heightened sexual arousal. As the brain is deprived of oxygen, a person will also begin to lose consciousness. It is at this point that a person will experience a sort of high. Certainly, the intention is not to kill oneself, but death often does occur from this activity; usually as a result of the failure of various fail safes put in place to prevent total asphyxiation.

Insurance Companies Deny Autoerotic Asphyxiation Death Claims

Insurance companies often deny accidental death claims if the death was caused by autoerotic asphyxiation. Very little, if any, investigation is done if a person dies in this manner. Instead, the insurance companies typically conclude the death as an act of self-harm or suicide.

Courts Are Split on This Issue

If the claim ends up in front of a court, the first thing they will look at is if the act can be considered an injury. Ultimately, the loss of control during asphyxiation or an adverse reaction to the practice can result in accidental death. Beneficiaries may argue that the underlying purpose of the practice was for the individual’s sexual pleasure and not to end their life. The practice is sexual in nature and not intended to inflict any sort of self-harm. Conversely, the insurance company may claim that although some people receive pleasure from this activity, it is ultimately still harmful and constitutes as an injury.

Accidental or Intentional Death

If it is determined that the practice of autoerotic asphyxiation is an injury, the court must then decide whether the act was accidental or intentional. To make this determination, the court first looks at whether the individual had a subjective expectation of causing bodily harm. If this approach is unclear, the court will then look at whether the expectation of injury was objectively reasonable. The beneficiary will likely argue that when engaging in acts of sexual pleasure, it is not a person’s expectation or intention to die.

The language within insurance policies varies depending on the plan, and the facts within each case will also vary. There is still no baseline rule on whether autoerotic asphyxiation will qualify as an accidental death and no guarantee it will receive additional coverage. Unfortunately, as deaths from this activity continue to occur, this remains an open issue; one that will further claims in a fight to get insurance companies to recognize these incidents as an accidental death.

We can Help. Call Dabdoub Law Firm for a Free Consultation

At Dabdoub Law Firm, we have experience handling claims for benefits under an accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy. This includes situations where death is caused by autoerotic asphyxiation. Every claim is different; the specific facts, language in the insurance policy, and applicable law will all heavily determine the outcome of each claim, as well as the corresponding lawsuits.

If you need help filing an accidental death claim or if a claim has already been denied, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can call us at (800) 969-0488 or contact us online.

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