A Texas court held that the insurers did not have to pay the death claim for a teenager who died when he pulled the trigger of a revolver with the barrel in his mouth and one bullet in the cylinder killed him instantly, because it was excluded by the policy exclusion for death caused directly or indirectly by self-inflicted injury.

The court determined that – regardless of the fact that the boy’s death was classified as a suicide by the medical examiner – ‘suicide’ was a red herring and the proper exclusion to apply was that of self-inflicted injury. The question whether it was a deliberate suicide did not have to be examined.

The court also found that the injuries were not unforeseen and unexpected, as required by an accident policy. The possible consequences of pulling the trigger of a loaded gun are neither unforeseen nor unexpected. The claim for $75 000 was dismissed.

The case is Freeman v Securian Life Insurance Co.