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Involuntary Manslaughter Is Felony That Precludes Health Insurance Benefits
Description Court held in favor of insurer that denied health benefits to insured who was injured when, driving drunk, he killed another driver and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. A policy provision that excludes benefits in case of voluntary participation in a felony applies.
Topic Insurance
Key Words Health Benefits, Drunk Driving
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts "Baker incurred substantial medical expenses as a result of an automobile accident in which he was driving drunk and collided with another vehicle, killing the driver. Baker pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a felony under North Carolina law. Provident [Baker's insurer] denied Baker benefits under a clause in his policy that excluded coverage for injuries sustained due to one's voluntary participation in a felony." Baker sued the insurer, contending that involuntary manslaughter was not "voluntary participation in a felony." The trial court held for the insurer; Baker appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "Baker voluntarily drank too much. He voluntarily got behind the wheel of his automobile while drunk. And he voluntarily crossed the center line into oncoming traffic. No one forced Baker to drink too much, to drive while drunk, or to crash headlong into [the person he killed]... Baker's participation in the felony of involuntary manslaughter was voluntary."
Citation Baker v. Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co., - F.3d - (199 WL 112194, 4th Cir.)
171 F.3d 939 (4th Cir., 1999)

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