Misrepresentation In Life Insurance Application

Dallas Texas life insurance lawyers will know this case and use it where necessary.  The case is from 1938, and was issued by the El Paso Court of Appeals.  It’s style is, National Life & Accident Co. v. Dickinson.

This is a judgment case wherein National Life sued Vera Dickinson, to cancel a life insurance policy issued on Vera’s husband, Fred.  National Life alleged that Fred made misrepresentations in his application for life insurance.  Fred later died.

The particular matters about which it was alleged Fred gave untrue and false answers were: (a) If he had ever had syphilis, and he answered “No,” whereas he did have; (b) he was asked about consulting a physician, and he answered “No,” whereas he had consulted a physician for various ailments; (c) whether he had been an inmate of a hospital, and answered “No,” when he had been an inmate of a hospital; (d) he was asked to give the names of physicians consulted, and he gave the name of only one, when he had consulted several; (e) he was asked if any physician ever gave unfavorable opinion of his health with reference to military or naval service, to which he answered “No,” when he had appeared before a medical board in 1933, and on examination was disqualified for active duty in the navy on account of his health, and he was then so advised; (f) it was alleged that the policy and application provided that the policy should not become effective unless it was delivered to Fred while he was in good health, and that Fred was not in good health when the policy was delivered to him.  National Life alleged that by reason of the matters stated the insurance contract never took effect, and rescission was sought on that ground.

The jury found in favor of Vera, that Fred did not make any intentional misrepresentations and that National Life did not rely on any of the misrepresentations.  The evidence showed that Fred died of bronchopneumonia.  Fred’s doctor testified that the fact Fred had other medical problems did not have anything to do with his death.

The trial court submitted to the jury to find whether syphilis caused or contributed to cause of death of Fred.  National Life objected to this question.  The trial court did not find any problem with this question and this appeals court ruled the same.

Cases like this are important to attorneys trying to help those life insurance beneficiaries who have benefits denied based on alleged misrepresentations in the insurance application.

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