Florida Woman Loses Insurance Dispute Over “Exploding” Corpse
A particularly disturbing insurance dispute placed the challenges of an insurance claim into recent news stories. A report in the New York Daily News explains the harrowing ordeal of a Florida woman who lived in a apartment complex. Her neighbor was an elderly woman who died from natural causes in the upstairs apartment. According to reports, the neighbor’s body was not discovered until approximately two weeks after her death. During that time, the corpse “exploded,” projecting bodily fluids onto the walls and floor. As time elapsed, the matter soaked through the walls into the woman’s apartment. The incident caused an extensive stench which required the apartment to be completely gutted and cleaned. The smell also ruined many of her personal items inside.
The woman, who was reportedly covered under a State Farm policy, made a claim for personal property damage. While the appraiser did approve a payout, it was not the full coverage that she requested. According to the article, State Farm asserted that her personal property was only covered under the events that were specifically listed in her policy, which did not include damage from a decomposing corpse. The woman’s attempt at compensation through the courts was unsuccessful, as the trial court sided with the insurance company.
She then filed an appeal in a West Palm Beach county court. The contention reportedly centered around the term “explosion,” which is specifically listed as a covered event under the policy. While the insurance company argued that the bursting corpse was not an explosion, the insured party argued that an explosion explained the incident perfectly. According to the article, the woman provided an affidavit from a doctor, asserting that “the internal contents of her body explosively expanded and leaked.” The court again sided with the insurance company. The opinion of the court stated that “the plain meaning of the term ‘explosion’ does not include a decomposing body’s cells explosively expanding, causing leakage of bodily fluids.” The decision left the woman responsible for the extensive cleaning bill, as well as her destroyed personal items.
Facing An Insurance Dispute
Insurance disputes can become extremely stressful. You faithfully pay your premiums each month, with the expectation that your insurance company will pay when disaster strikes. Whether you are dealing with damage to your home, loss of personal property or a life insurance pay out, these difficult times are made even more difficult when you have to fight with an insurance company for compensation. In the state of Florida, these conflicts often occur during hurricane season. As residents deal with damages from serious storms, they must also contend with low insurance damage estimates and outright denials of coverage. Fighting insurance companies entails a significant amount of work. The injured party must read and understand every clause of the policy. In addition, an understanding of how courts have handled similar cases is essential. These tasks are made significantly easier by securing the representation of a knowledgeable Miami insurance lawyer.