'Death due to heart attack in normal course not accidental'

New Delhi: A death due to heart attack in the "normal course" would not fall in the category of an accidental death, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has said.

"The Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) can be said to be an accidental death if such an attack takes place as a result of some external and sudden incident such as trauma or shock induced by external factors.

"But it cannot certainly be said that a death due to heart attack in the normal course would fall in the category of an accidental death," it noted.

The apex consumer body, comprising members B N P Singh and S K Naik, allowed a petition of SBI Life Insurance Corporation Ltd challenging an Andhra Pradesh State Commission's order to pay Rs 5.5 lakh claim to a man, the nominee of the insured.

Giving relief to the insurance company, the Commission said the lower consumer forum had taken a "completely erroneous view" to declare it as a case of an accidental death.

"No doubt a stroke may occur all of a sudden, without any prior apprehension or any symptom and perhaps cannot be foreseen or anticipated," the Commission said.

The insurance company denied the claim of Y Dayamani, the policy holder, who had died due to heart attack within a month of the commencement of the policy.

The State Commission, however, had held that in the absence of any prior treatment for heart ailment, such a sudden heart attack can very well be said as an accidental death.

"However, given the medical history of the life-assured that he was suffering from Diabetes Mellitus for over a period of five years..., the case of death resulting out of heart attack, in this case cannot but be held to be a natural death," the Commission said.