Accidental Means – Definition

Cite this article as:"Accidental Means – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 20, 2019, last accessed October 29, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/accidental-means-definition/.

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Accidental Means Definition

Simply put, an accident is an unintended or unexpected occurrence. Accidental means is a provision under an insurance policy that covers losses incurred by an insured.

This is an insurance policy that provides coverage for losses, body injuries, damage of property, or death cause by an unforeseen event or accident. This policy has no provision for losses from non-accident events, insurers are only liable for losses resulting from events that were out of the control of the insured.

A Little More on What is Accidental Means

Coverage for unintended acts that cause bodily injury, harm or death to an insured are provided under an insurance policy (accidental means). Not all claims for losses are covered under this policy but losses that are proven to have been caused by accidents. For instance, an insured construction worker that is injured or suffer losses as a result of an accident that happened on the construction  site can have access to this coverage.

Losses, Bodily injuries, damages or death that occur as a result of carelessness or failure to take precautions are not covered by accidental means. Accidental means takes into account the cause and effect of the accidental event and not just the result of the event.

While some insurance companies use ‘accidental means’, some use ‘accidental injury’. Both terms have different meanings in different contexts and as used in different states.

There is a specific way that the language of an insurance policy refers to accidental means. Take the following clause as an example; “Due proof that the death of the insured occurred as a result, directly and independently of all other causes, of bodily injuries effected solely through external, violent and accidental means…” this implies that the insurance policy caters for accidental means. However, in some cases, the court determines whether losses resulting from an event is covered or not. Events that include the occurrence of “Violent” and “external” commonly qualify as accidental means.

Reference for “Accidental Means”

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/accidental-means.asp

www.businessdictionary.com/definition/accidental-means.html

https://www.irmi.com/term/insurance-definitions/accidental-means

https://thelawdictionary.org/accidental-means/

heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/defcon48&section…

Academics research on “Accidental Means”

The Distinction Between Accidental Means and Accidental Results in Accidental Death Insurance, Ingram, J. D., & Ostfeld, L. R. (1984). The Distinction Between Accidental Means and Accidental Results in Accidental Death Insurance. Fla. St. UL Rev., 12, 1.

Accidental Death Insurance Coverage of Drunk Drivers, Gardner, M. E. (2004). Accidental Death Insurance Coverage of Drunk Drivers. Mo. L. Rev., 69, 235.

The Meaning of the Accidental Means Clause in Accident Insurance Policies, Rothman, B. (1981). The Meaning of the Accidental Means Clause in Accident Insurance Policies. INs. CouNsEL J., 48, 231.

Modern Environmental Insurance Law: Sudden and Accidental, Ribner, S. A. (1988). Modern Environmental Insurance Law: Sudden and Accidental. . John’s L. Rev., 63, 755.

The Distinction Between Accidental Means and Accidental Results in Accidental Death Insurance, Ingram, J. D., & Ostfeld, L. R. (1984). The Distinction Between Accidental Means and Accidental Results in Accidental Death Insurance. Fla. St. UL Rev., 12, 1.

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