Insurance Defense is the practice of defending businesses and individuals who have been sued and who have insurance that covers the potential liability. The most common insurance defense case involves an automobile accidents. Most jurisdictions mandate that vehicle owners carry insurance and when there is a car accident and the owner sued, the insurer of the owner will generally hire the attorney to defend the owner.
Accidents on commercial property, such as “slip and fall” cases, are also typical of insurance defense cases. The classic examples include water on the floor in a supermarket near the vegetables from the store employees cleaning the vegetables, a spill of a beverage in a restaurant or coffee shop, or rainwater in the entry way of a hotel, and then someone slips in the water and is injured. The injured person sues, claiming the establishment was not vigilant in keeping the floor dry. If the business has the appropriate insurance, the insurance company will hire an attorney to defend the case.
Homeowners are also sometime sued for maters covered by their insurance. An example is if a tree falls and lands on the neighbor’s car. The homeowner is sued by the neighbor and if the homeowner had the correct insurance, the insurance company will hire an attorney to defend the case.
If you are sued, look at your insurance policies, and quickly contact your insurance company to advise them that you have been sued. You may be covered and if you are covered, your insurance company may hire you an attorney to defend your case.
The practice area of Insurance Defense can also cover the complicated area of determining coverage. There are exceptions in policies and Insurance Defense attorneys are often called upon to review the policy for the insurance company or the insured to determine if there really is coverage. If coverage is improperly denied by the insurance company, the Insurance Defense attorney can end having to address a claim of “bad faith” brought against insurance company for denying coverage of the claim.
The Member Firms of Pacific Lawyers all belong to Alfa International, a global network of law firms and many of Alfa International members practice Insurance Defense. See, www.alfainternational.com.
This is how Alfa International describes the Practice Area of Insurance:
“Providing financial security for individuals, businesses, and organizations, the insurance industry has long served as a cornerstone of the United States economy. However, as market forces and regulatory oversight continue to evolve at a rapid pace, insurers are finding they must ensure that future business decisions and strategies will maintain this important economic safeguard.”
“As one of ALFA International’s most active Practice Groups, serving clients in every state and several non-U.S. jurisdictions, the ALFA International Insurance Practice Group provides a critical blend of broad industry experience and local knowledge. Our attorneys deliver cost-effective, coordinated legal services to insurers writing health, accident, life, disability, long-term care, and property and casualty coverages.”
“ALFA Insurance attorneys regularly draw on extensive financial, regulatory, business, and legal backgrounds to help insurers develop proactive solutions to emerging challenges and to take full advantage of new opportunities. Likewise, our lawyers work closely with other ALFA International Practice Groups to provide comprehensive legal services that support our clients’ short- and long-term objectives.”
There are many types of insurance. The government is involved with and manages some forms of insurance, like Social Security disability, worker’s compensation, and unemployment insurance. However, the Practice Area of Insurance Defense usually refers to matters surrounding private insurance only. The most common forms of private insurance are health insurance, automobile accident insurance, homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, title insurance, and malpractice insurance.
Since there are many different types of insurance, and because insurance touches so many aspects of life, most lawyers have some familiarity with limited aspects of insurance law. For example, Real Estate attorneys deal with title insurance, and may also be familiar with homeowners’ insurance policies, and Estate Planning and Probate attorneys frequently advise on life insurance products and often deal with the distribution of life insurance proceeds. But when there is a lawsuit that involved a claim covered by insurance, a litigation attorney is really what is needed. A lawsuit involves all of the processes of discovery, complying with the Rules of Civil Procedure and the local rules of court, and quite possibly going to trial and applying the Rules of Evidence. It is the Insurance Defense attorney who is front and center when there is a lawsuit over a claim covered by insurance. If you have a matter that involves insurance, particularly if you have been sued and believe you might have insurance that covers the potential liability, consult with an attorney who practices in the Practice Area of Insurance Defense.