Volume 31, Issue 3 (July 1986)
“Insanity” in Civil Law
The issue of “insanity” is rarely alluded to in the area of civil law. As a consequence, the legal standard for insanity is not clearly understood by many psychiatrists. The standard derives from case law and is based upon statutory law in the criminal sector. A civil case will be presented where the question of “insanity” was raised. In this case an individual committed suicide and his insurance company refused to pay the beneficiaries of his life insurance policy based upon a provision in his policy that excluded payment in situations of suicide. His beneficiaries sued, claiming that the deceased was insane at the time of his suicide and therefore not responsible for his actions. The standard for insanity in New Jersey and the reasoning of the psychiatrists will be presented.