Insurance coverage issues can tend to be highly complicated and often result in litigation. Therefore, the field is a highly specialized category of law, and the areas of coverage and litigation have become increasingly intertwined.
At Hagelin Spencer, we successfully apply our knowledge in both areas to deliver not only sound advice on coverage issues before decisions are made, but also a firm resolve to defend against any coverage disputes that may arise.
We provide our clients with substantial experience and handle each issue meticulously, affording both sound coverage advice and litigation expertise.
As the law becomes progressively complex, we are frequently retained to maintain, guide, or shape the law through appellate practice, which often begins at the onset of a case at the trial court level.
Our firm can provide advantages extending beyond advice on insurance coverage, offering comprehensive representation for whatever issue may arise.
We routinely work in coverage matters in automobile cases including subrogation, reservations of rights and disclaimer of coverage, application for UM/SUM benefits and permissive use issues. Sometimes these issues are resolved before a case is put into suit; however, many times they arise within a case that is already in litigation.
Homeowners and Property Coverage
What is and what is not covered under a particular homeowner policy can often be very confusing to the policyholder. One common area where we see this is the line that must be drawn between a negligent act and an intentional act. This also commonly arises with the distinctions between storm and flood damage. Additionally, we work with first party benefits such as property damage and related business interruption losses stemming from any disaster that may arise. These disputes can occur over non-cooperation, fraud, causation, policy exclusions, and policy definitions.
Due to the wide number of claims which can be brought against a company and their employees, determining what coverage applies and to whom it applies is often the first issue which must be addressed before proceeding. From there, our offices can be retained to represent your wellbeing in a declaratory judgment action or in the suit itself. There is no better method to protect the interests of your business than to consult with an experienced litigation firm as soon as possible.
The words “bad faith” can make even the strongest insurance company take notice. This phrase is often thrown around the courtroom without cause, in attempts by the opposition to obtain a favorable settlement. However, any allegation of bad faith must be taken seriously, and the insurance company should respond immediately. The best practice is to formally confront allegations of bad faith with your attorney right from the outset, and state why your position has a reasonable basis in fact. A successful and early determination will dictate the course of action to follow.
Although one would like to make coverage determinations without a declaratory judgment, oftentimes the only way to come to a final resolution on a coverage issue is to go forward with a complete declaratory judgment action. These situations can arise in any insurance coverage or litigation area, and often appear unexpectedly. Many times, a conflict of interest for the involved attorneys will accompany the issue as well. When these cases turn up, the insurance company should consider retaining a law firm to obtain the right decision on coverage before any further action is taken.
Excess and umbrella coverage
The application of excess and umbrella coverage is always advantageous to the insured, but can often be a very tricky area for the insurer. Our attorneys give coverage opinions on numerous issues, including the duty to defend and the order in which each policy will apply. Furthermore, when defending a case on the underlying policy, we always stay in touch with the excess carrier to keep them fully apprised of significant developments in the pending ligation.
With the types of claims brought against professionals expanding, the types of coverage available to them has followed suit. For this reason, insurance coverage is expanding to many new professions and these coverage issues must generally be addressed prior to assessing any potential liability or damages. Consult an experienced insurance coverage attorney before making a decision as to whether your company’s coverage applies. If it does, we are always there to provide the professional with a terrific defense.
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