A Glen Burnie, Maryland man whose hand was amputated in a lawn mower accident does not qualify for insurance benefits because he was drunk, a federal judge in Baltimore has ruled.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz dismissed a claim by the wife of Billie Lamm, which said driving a lawn mower drunk was not the same as driving a car intoxicated.
Motz granted summary judgment in favor of Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co.
In April 2000, Lamm, now deceased, was involved in the accident that led to the amputation of his right hand a month later. Edna Lamm had previously taken out an accidental insurance policy through her employer and filed a $50,000 claim to collect on the policy.
The policy, issued by Provident Life, included a disclaimer for determining eligibility of benefits. An adjusting firm denied Lamm benefits because he was intoxicated during the accident.
Edna Lamm filed a lawsuit against the insurer in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, seeking $50,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages. The insurance company had the case moved to federal court.
A toxicology test at the hospital showed Lamm had a blood alcohol level of .076 percent.
Motz, citing a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said while the incident was unintentional, once Lamm drove drunk, it no longer qualified as an accident.
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