Experienced At Handling Insurance Coverage Issues

Insurance coverage issues can be highly complex and often lead to related or independent litigation. Coverage litigation is a highly specialized category of law, intertwining issues of tort and contractual liability, insurance contract interpretation, and requiring special attention to potential conflicts of interest. At Hagelin Spencer LLC, our lawyers, with extensive experience in the state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey, bring to bear our extensive defense trial background when analyzing third-party liability coverage issues, and are uniquely equipped to litigate any coverage disputes that may arise.

Our years of successful and substantial trial experience across the state of New York, including the metropolitan New York City region, and the state of New Jersey, has equipped us with the knowledge needed to handle any coverage issue with meticulous attention. As the law has become progressively complex, clients have retained us to help preserve or shape the law through well thought out and aggressive appellate practice. Our firm can also provide legal services extending beyond advice on insurance coverage, offering comprehensive counsel and representation for whatever ancillary issues that arise.

Automobile Coverage

We routinely provide representation in coverage matters pertaining to automobile liability cases, including in the areas of subrogation, reservation of rights, disclaimer of coverage, application for UM/SUM benefits, and permissive use issues. We seek to, and often can, resolve such issues economically before a lawsuit arises. However, we also handle matters already evolving into litigation.

Commercial Liability

When confronting the often large number of potential and complex liability claims brought against companies and their employees, it is important to determine what coverage applies (and to whom it applies) as early as possible, and preferably before any proceeding gets underway.

Our lawyers are experienced litigators. We can represent your interests in declaratory judgment actions to determine the existence and scope of coverage. We try cases. Our knowledge and skills allow us to protect all of your business interests.

Defending Against Bad Faith Claims

Bad faith claims make even the largest insurance companies take notice, and have become something of a cottage industry in the insurance litigation field. Opposing counsel often uses such claims to apply pressure and raise the stakes in hopes of aiding their position during settlement negotiations. Consequently, an immediate and aggressive response to a bad faith allegation is warranted.

At Hagelin Spencer LLC, we move quickly in response to bad faith allegations, through motion practice and discovery, to educate the court and adversary about the accurate scope of the business dispute. We will argue in support of the handling and denial of a claim, and seek an early dismissal of the bad faith claims in order to place the litigation in its proper, limited contractual posture.

Obtaining Declaratory Judgments In Your Case

While it is preferable to make coverage determinations without resorting to litigation, often a declaratory judgment action is the only way to fully and finally resolve a coverage issue. Such situations can arise unexpectedly in any insurance coverage or litigation, and can often be complicated by the presence of a conflict of interest for the attorneys involved. In such circumstances, our skilled attorneys can help an insurance company obtain the right decision on coverage before taking any further action.

Excess And Umbrella Coverage Issues

Though the application of excess and umbrella coverage is advantageous for the insured, it can prove to be a legally tricky area for the insurer. Our attorneys give coverage opinions on numerous issues in this area, including the duty to defend against claims, the order in which each policy will apply, and the right of an excess insurer to be involved in the defense of a claim. In that regard, 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 litigation.

Homeowners And Property Coverage

Myriad issues unique to homeowners' coverage can lead to disputed complex claims and subsequent litigation. Coverage issues arise in the first-party context (e.g., is the fire damage caused by the boiler's failure covered?) and the third-party liability context (e.g., am I covered when my dog bites my visiting friend?). In the liability context, issues also often arise as to whether an occurrence was the result of a negligent or intentional act. In the first-party context, coverage issues often arise as to whether damage is covered as "storm damage" or excluded as "flood damage" (in the absence of a separate flood policy). Our attorneys have extensive experience analyzing insurance policy coverage and exclusionary language, which allows us to determine whether insurance coverage issues exist and to address and resolve such issues during the claims process or in litigation.

In the business insurance context, we also routinely deal with claims for first-party benefits such as property damage to a business and related business interruption losses. We first determine whether a covered loss occurred, but we also determine the proper measure of damages under the policy, which is equally important. We also resolve disputes arising out of noncooperation, fraud, causation, policy exclusions, and policy definitions.

Partnering With Insurance Companies Throughout The Legal Process

If you have questions concerning insurance coverage issues, please contact our law firm by calling 716-849-3500. We have offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Garden City, and Jersey City, New Jersey. We handle claims and litigation (in the state and federal courts) throughout the state of New York, including all five boroughs of New York City, and Long Island, and all of northern and central New Jersey.