Picture this scenario. You are a homeowner. You spend a good portion of your paycheck on your mortgage, utilities, phone, trash, and of course, homeowner's insurance. As in most neighborhoods, you have neighbors and acquaintances. One of your acquaintances and you get involved in some sort of money transaction where one of you may or may not owe the other. He weighs three times as much as you, and has attacked and injured you in the past. He gets agitated over the dispute and comes to your home to confront you about it. The situation escalates, and in order to protect yourself and your family, you shoot the man. You don't intend to kill him; you don't ever want to be responsible for someone else's death. You only want to hurt him, to keep you and yours safe. Unfortunately the 12 gauge you use is remarkably accurate, and your acquaintance dies.
You are arrested, as you should be. At your criminal trial, you either hire a lawyer, or you have the Court appoint one for you. You do what makes sense; you hire your own attorney. You have your day in court, and the jury acquits you. You did nothing wrong; you protected your family from an intruder. We don't like that you took a life, but you swear you didn't intend to, and we believe you.
Now that you've won your freedom at extensive cost to you, you are sued for wrongful death by the estate of the man whose life you took, a civil suit. Your insurance company wants a declaration that they are not required to provide you counsel. You feel that since you did not intentionally kill the man, the killing was accidental. According to the plain language of the policy you have, the company must defend or indemnify you against accidental occurrances.
The Insurance company sees it differently. They deem the act of shooting to be an intentional act. The killing was not intentional, but the shooting was, and of course, according to the language you just pointed to, an intentional act is not covered, so they owe you nothing.
What do you think should happen? Write your answer, then check here to see what the 3rd District of the Appellate Division of New York says. Or cheat, and see what they said and determine whether or not you agree.