Aschenbrenner v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co.
292 U.S. 80 (1934)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Aschenbrenner v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 292 U.S. 80 (1934)

Aschenbrenner v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co.

No. 578

Argued March 8, 1934

Decided April 2, 1934

292 U.S. 80

Syllabus

1. If the language of an accident insurance policy is open to two constructions, that more favorable to the insured will be adopted. P. 292 U. S. 84.

2. Words in an accident insurance policy, when not obviously intended to be used in their technical connotation, will be given the meaning that common speech imports. P. 292 U. S. 85.

3. An accident policy provided for double indemnity if injury were sustained by insured

"while a passenger in or on a public conveyance (including the platform, steps or running-board thereof) provided by a common carrier for passenger service."

Insured, at a proper station, had boarded the steps of a moving train, and

Page 292 U. S. 81

was standing there, holding on, when his body, projecting out, truck some obstacle, and he was brushed off and killed.

Held:

(1) That the question whether he was a "passenger" at the time did not depend upon the meaning of that word in the terminology applied in negligence suits against common carriers. P. 292 U. S. 83.

(2) The insured was a "passenger" within the meaning of the policy, construing it liberally in his favor and giving its words their common meaning. P. 292 U. S. 85.

(3) The fact that the stipulation construed was one for double indemnity was not a reason for construing it more strictly than other provisions of the policy. P. 292 U. S. 85.

65 F.2d 976 reversed.

Certiorari, 290 U.S. 622, to review a judgment directing that a recovery of double indemnity on a policy of accident insurance be reduced one-half.

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