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

handle is hein.journals/molr69 and id is 245 raw text is: Notes

Accidental Death Insurance Coverage
of Drunk Drivers
Gaddy v. Hartford Life Insurance Co.'
Drunk driving causes the deaths of thousands of Americans each year.2 The
drunk driver is often among those killed. This raises the question of whether the
beneficiaries of an insured killed as a result of his own drunk driving can claim
the proceeds of an accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy. The
answer to this question depends on whether the drunk driver's death is
considered an accident for first-party insurance coverage purposes. State and
federal courts have largely split on this question. In Gaddy v. Hartford Life
Insurance Co., the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri, applying Missouri law, concluded that such a death is not an
Charles Gaddy was killed in an automobile accident on June 27, 1998.4 He
was returning home from a grocery store when he lost control of his vehicle and
drove off the road, overcorrected, and collided with an oncoming car.5 Both
Gaddy and the other driver died at the scene.6 The Missouri State Highway
Patrol tested blood drawn from Gaddy and determined that he was intoxicated
at the time of the accident.7 His blood alcohol content measured 0.21 percent,
1. 218 F. Supp. 2d 1123 (E.D. Mo. 2002).
SAFETY ADMIN., TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTS 2002: ALCOHOL, at iii (2002), available at
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSFAnn/TSF2002Final.pdf. A study
found that in 2002, 17,419 people were killed in automobile crashes involving alcohol.
This represented forty-one percent of those killed in all automobile crashes that year. Id.
3. Gaddy, 218 F. Supp. 2d at 1128.
4. Id. at 1125.
5. Id.
6. Id.
7. Id. at 1126.

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