In the State of Florida, an accidental death benefit usually refers to a sum of money paid as a claim to those with Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance. These types of insurance policies cover the accidental death of the insured as well as injuries that lead to the death of the insured.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes 112.19, all public law enforcement officers, firefighters, state attorney investigators, public defender investigators, corrections officers, correctional probation officers, members of bomb disposal units, Florida Highway Patrol auxiliary officers, full-time officers and other such employees of the State of Florida are covered by AD&D insurance as a part of their State benefits package.
Accidental death benefits for State AD&D plans include up to $65,000 for an accidental death in the line of duty. This payment will be granted to a designated beneficiary, a next-of-kin family member or the deceased’s estate. Up to an additional $65,000 is provided if the death occurred while the officer was in “fresh pursuit” of a suspected perpetrator of a crime or a fugitive.
F.S. 112.19 (1)(a) defines “fresh pursuit” as the pursuit of someone “who has committed or is reasonably suspected of having committed a felony, misdemeanor, traffic infraction, or violation of a county or municipal ordinance.” A fresh pursuit does not have to necessarily be an instant response, just one without an unreasonable delay.
In lieu of the above maximum benefit claims, up to $190,000 will be provided to the designated beneficiary of an officer who is unlawfully and intentionally killed by an aggressor or who is killed by a unlawful and intentional act.
Families and estates may have a right not to settle with insurers for these amounts if they feel that extreme circumstances call for an alternative amount. For instance, someone filing an accidental death tort could argue for a much higher amount based on the egregiousness of the tort and the damages to the deceased and their family.