Collecting on a life insurance policy can sometimes lead to unexpected problems for bereaved Florida families. One case on the other side of the country illustrates the kind of difficulties that people can face. In Utah, a man was shot and killed by a police officer. While the police allege that the man had raised a handgun and pointed it at the officer, his family and others say that the man put down the gun and ran through a gate into his own yard.

The man was killed on April 13, 2014, but the life insurance battle has continued since that time. The man’s wife is suing the insurance company in federal court for her late husband’s $500,000 insurance policy. Earlier, the family sued the city for wrongful death; while it did not admit fault, the city paid the family $127,000 in damages. The wife had called the police the day of her husband’s death; she was concerned because her husband had a gun and expressed suicidal ideas.

In 2014, American General denied the wife’s life insurance claim, saying that her husband “wanted ‘suicide by cop.'” However, another police officer present at the scene said that he saw the man put his gun down and run through the gate before his fellow officer shot him. The wife and her lawyer said that the insurance company did not thoroughly research the claim.

In the case, the insurance company said that the county’s failure to prosecute the police officer for homicide meant that the man was at fault for his own death. However, even county officials argued that their decision did not reflect a decision about civil liability. Many people rely on their insurance companies, but denied life insurance claims can be far more common than people expect. An attorney may help people fight back against insurance denials and work to get the compensation they deserve.