ance cases it is regarded and characterized by the courts as a disease, and therefore it is that insurance companies are held liable in cases of suicide when the insured was insane; further, that in the case in hand the act of self-destruction was occasioned by the insanity, and so, that within the meaning of the policy, the death was caused by disease. I was much impressed with the force of this argument, and if I may use the language of DENMAN, J., in a case hereafter referred to, "but for Winspear v. Accident Ins. Co., 6 Q. B. Div. 42, I am not sure but that I should have thought the company were protected." It is true that in cases upon life policies death by an insane suicide is regarded by the courts as death by disease. As it is expressed in Eastabrook v. Union Mut. Life Ins. Co., 54 Me. 224, "death by disease is provided for by the policy. Insanity is a disease. Death which is the result of insanity is death by disease." It is to be borne in mind, however, that these and similar observations are made in a class of cases where the insurance is not special but general, and where the protection which it is intended to afford covers all diseases and disorders-other than those which may be specially excepted -which result in death. In the case of a life policy, it may not matter whether the disease of insanity or the particular act of selfdestruction be regarded as the immediate cause of death. It is the life which is insured, and liability arises when death occurs, unless the death is within one of the specially excepted cases enumerated in the policy. The fact, therefore, that in such cases it is said that death which is the result of insanity is death by disease does not reach the question we have here, which is, what, under the provisions of a policy which covers accidents only, was the cause of death? In the sense of the clauses on the subject in this policy, was the death caused by disease, or by the act of violence in question? Although the words of the policy are, "caused wholly or in part by bodily infirmities or disease," I suppose the true inquiry is, what was the actual, proximate cause of death? For, in law, there is but one cause. That ill the proximate cause, which may either directly or indirectly produce the result. If the death was caused in part by disease, the disease must have been a proximate cause of death. "One of the most valuable crite'ria furnished us by the authorities," says Mr. Justice MILLER, in Insurance CO'. v. Tweed, 7 Wall. 44, "is to ascertain whether any new cause has intervened between the fact accomplished and the alleged cause. If a new force or power has intervened, of itself sufficient to stand as the cause of the misfortune, the other must be considered as 1.00 remote." In Insurance Co. v. Transportation Co., 12 Wa11199, it was said by Mr. Justice
"There is undoubtedly difficulty in many cases attending the application of the m,ixim, proxima causa non remota spectatur, but none when the causes succeed each other in order of t.ime. In such cases the rule is plain.
CRANDAL 'lJ. ACCIDENT INS. CO.
When one of several successive causes is sufficient to produce that effect, the law will not regard an antecedent cause of that cause, or the causa causans. In such a case there is no doubt which cause is the proximate one, within the meaning of the maxim. But whfln there is no order of succession in time,-when there are two concurrent causes of a loss,-the predominating, ejficient one must be regarded as the proximate, when the damage done by each cannot be distinguished."
. The cases most nearly in point upon the question here in judgment are Reynolds v. Accidental Ins. Co., 22 Law T. (N. S.) 820; Winspear v. Accident Ins. Co. 6 Q. B. Div. 42; Lawrence v. Accidental Ins. CO.,7 Q. B. Div. 216; and Scheffer v. Railrolld Co., 105 U. S. 249. Although it may extend this opinion to greater length than is de. sirable, it seems necessary to give attention to these cases somewhat in detail. In the Reynolds Case the facts were that Thomas Humphrey ef. fected with the defendant company "8 policy of insurance, whereby it was declared that if, during the continuance of such policy, the said Thomas Humphrey should receive or suffer bodily injury from any accident or violence, in case such accident or violence should cause the death of the said Thomas Humphrey within three calendar months after the occurrence of such accident or violence, the full sum of three hundred pounds should be payable to the personal representa. tives, etc.: provided, also, and it is hereby expressly agreed and declared, that no claim shall be payable by the said company under the policy in respect of death or injury by accident or violence, unless such death or injury shall be occasioned by some external and material cause operating upon the person of the said insured, and unless, in the case of death, as aforesaid, Buch death shall take place from such accident or violence within three calendar months," etc. It appeared that Humphrey, while the policy was in force, went into the sea to bathe. While in a pool about one foot deep he became suddenly in. sensible from some unexplained internal cause, and fell into the water with his face downwards. A few minutes alterwards he was found lying dead, with his face in the water, and water escaped from his lungs in such a manner as to prove that he had breathed after falling into the water. The question for the opinion of the court was whether the death of Humphrey occurred in a manner entitling the plaintiff, as his executor, to receive the sum of £300 under or by virtue of the policy. Bosanquet, for the defendant, argued that "if a mall is pushed into the water, or forcibly held down in it, his d,jath then results from violence, within the meaning of the policy. If a man accidentally falls into water, and is drowned, his death results from accident; but if a man falls down in a fit in a shallow pool, and is drowned, his death is the result, not of accident or of violence, but of the fit, even though the immediate cause of death be, as here, suffocation by drowning." WILLES, J., said: "In this case the death reo suIted from the action of thewat.er on the lungs, and from the conse· quent interfereuce with respiration. I think that the fact of the de·
ceased falling in the water from sudden insensibility was an accident,
and consequently that our judgment must be for the plaintiff." It is to be observed of this case that it has only a general application to the question under consideration, because the proviso in the policy contained no such condition as we have here in relation to disease as a cause, in whole or in part, of death. [n the Winspear Case the facts were that W. effected an insurance with the defendants against accidental injury, and by the terms of the policy the defendants agreed to pay the amolint insured to W.'s legal representatives, should he sustain "any personal injury caused by accidental, external, and visible means," and the direct effect of such injury should cause his death. 'fhe policy also contained a proviso that the insurance should not extend "to any injury caused by or arising from natural disease or weakness, or exhaustion consequent upon disease, lit · lit or to any death arising from disease, although such death may have been accelerated by accident." During the time the policy was in force, and while W. was crossing a stream, he was seized by an epileptic fit, and fell into the stream, and was drowned while suffering from the fit, but he did not sustain any personal injury to occasion death other than drowning. Here it was argued that there would have been no drowning had the insured not had an epileptic fit; ·that it was the fit which caused the drowning; and that the death, therefore, was from an injury caused by the fit; just as it is argued in the case at bar that there would have been no suicide had the insured not been. insane;' that it was the insanity which caused the suicide, and that, therefore, the death was from an injury caused by insanity. But Lord COLERIDGE, C. J., said:
"I am of opinion that this judgment should be affirmed, and that on very plain grounds. It appears to be clear from the statement in this case that the insured died from drowning in the waters of the brook, while in an epileptic fit, and drowning has been decided to be an injury because, in the words of this policy, caused by ·accidental, external, and visiblfl means.' I am, therefore, of opinion that the injury from which he died was a risk covered by this policy; and the only question, then. remaining is whether the case is within the proviso which provides that the insurance ·shall not extend t() death by suicide. whether felonious or otherwise. or to q,ny inj"U1'y caused by or arising from natural disease or weakness or exhaustion consequent upon disease.' It is certainly !lot within the first part of this proviso because the death was not so occasioned. Neither does it appear to me that the cause of death was within those latter words of the proviso. The death was. not caused, by any natural disease, or weakness or exhaustion consequent upon disease. but by the accident of drowning. I am of opinion that those words in the proviso mean what they say. and that they point to an injury caused by natural disease; as if, for instance, in the present case, epilepsy had really been the cause of the death. The death, however. did not arise from any such cause. and those words have no application to the case, and therefore the judgment of the exchequer division must be affirmed."
This case, in its facts and upon principle, appears to be directly in point; for if there the death was not in a legal sense caused by
CRANDAL V. ACCIDENT INS. CO.
the fit, but by the drowning, so here it was not caused by the insanity or disease, but by the act of self-destruction. In the case of Lawrence there was a policy of insurance against death from accidental injury, which contained the following condition:
"This policy insures payment only in case of injuries accidentally occurring from material and external cause operating upon the person of the insured, where such accidental injury is the direct and sole cause of death to the insured; * * * but it does not inSU1'e in case of death arising from jits, * * * 01' any disease whatever arisin.q before or at the time or fottowin.q such accidental injury, (whether consequent upon such accidental injury or not, and whether causing such death directly or jointly with such accidental injury.)"
. The insured, while at a railway station, was seized by a fit, and fell off the platform across the railway, and an engine and carriages passed over his body al1d killed him. The falling forward of the insured off the platform was in consequence of his being seized with a fit or sudden illness, and but for such fit or illness he would not have suffered injury and death. J., following the authority of Winspear v. Accident Ins. Co., held the company liable. WILLIAMS, J., placed his concurring opinion upon the following grounds:
"The whole case depends on the true construction of the words in the proviso, because in this case the deceased person, having fallen down accidentally in a fit from the platform of the railway on to the rails, was, while lying there, accidentally run over by a train that happened at that moment unfortunately to come up, and he was undOUbtedly killed by the direct external violence of the engine upon his body, which caused his death immediately. The question arises whether, according to the true construction of the proviso, it can be said that this is a case of a death arising from a fit; because, if this death did not arise from the fit, according to the true construction of the policy, the remainder of the clause does not come into existence at all, and is inapplic!tble. It seems to me that the well-known maxim of Lord BACON, which is applicable to all departments of the law, is directly applicable in this case. Lord BACON'S language in his Maxims of the Law, reg. I, runs thus: ·It were infinite for the law to consider the causes of causes, and their impulsions one of another; therefore it contenteth itself with the immediate cause.' Therefore I say, according tothe true principle of law: I must look at only the immediate and proximate cause of death; and it seems to me to be impracticable to go back to cause upon cause, which would lead us back ultimately to the birth of the person; for had he not been born, the accident would not have happened. 'fhe true meaning of this proviso is that if the death arose from a fit, then the company are not liable, even though accidental injury contributed to the death in the sense that they were both causes which opit. That is the meaning, in my opinion, of this erated jointly in proviso. BJ]t it is essential to that construction that it should be made out that the fit was a cause in the sense of being the proximate and immediate cause of the death, before the company are exonerated; and it is not the less so berause you can show that another cause intervened and assisted in the causation. "
Thns it appears that although the proviso in the policy in that case was tbat if the death shonld arise from a fit the company should not be liable, even though accidental injury contributed to the death by v.27F.no.1-4