The McKennon Law Group PC periodically publishes articles on its California Insurance Litigation Blog that deal with frequently asked questions in the insurance bad faith, life insurance, long term disability insurance, annuities, accidental death insurance, ERISA and other areas of the law. To speak with a highly skilled Los Angeles long-term disability insurance lawyer at the McKennon Law Group PC, call (949) 387-9595 for a free consultation or go to our website at www.mckennonlawgroup.com and complete the free consultation form.
Professionals such as insurance agents, attorneys, physicians and accountants often contact our firm regarding professional liability insurance, or errors-and-omissions insurance. This is a form of liability insurance that indemnifies individuals who provide professional advice and services from claims of negligence or errors resulting from a civil lawsuit brought by clients or third parties. These professionals carry professional liability insurance as protection against claims arising out of business or professional practices.Indeed, a professional liability policy may be written for almost any occupation or profession. For example, doctors, dentists, engineers, real estate agents, and hospitals carry errors & omissions insurance commonly referred to as malpractice insurance, while attorneys and accountants carry professional liability insurance.
Coverage typically includes the costs of defense and indemnity of any damage awards up to the policy limits, and they exclude criminal acts, breach-of-contract claims or personal injury claims. Although “professional services” is generally liberally construed, coverage may be denied where the claim arises out of activities not associated with the professional duties being insured. Damages under a typical coverage provision provide that the insurer is obligated to pay “damages as a result of claims.” Most policies define “damages” as monetary compensation under a judgment, award or settlement.
We specialize in litigating and resolving professional liability insurance claim disputes for individual and business policyholders. We have decades of experience in litigating and negotiating these types of professional liability cases.
Professional liability policy forms vary from insurer to insurer and from industry to industry, and often contain pages of exclusions for specific losses. Disputes may arise regarding whethera claim was made and reported in the relevant policy period. In such cases, the issue may be whether a “claim” was made, of which the insured had knowledge within the policy period. Insurers may also typically deny claims that are not reported within a reasonable period of time, as specified in the professional liability policy. In addition, whether and when a professional liability insurer must defend an insured against malpractice claims is often in dispute.
We also see disputes arise as to when an insurer should have consented to and paid for settlement. An insurance company will often take advantage of the complexity and length of its own policies and issue improper denials, often based on ambiguous policy exclusions.Professional liability insurers often delay or withhold crucial defense payments to an insured while “investigating” these issues, which can be a tremendous source of stress and worry.
California law imposes an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing (more commonly known as “insurance bad faith”) in every insurance policy, based on fundamental principles of fairness. Additionally, most professional liability policies require that an allocation be made with respect to covered or potentially covered claims and those that are not. If an insurer unreasonably and without proper cause denies an insurance claim, refuses to cover an insured’s defense or refuses to conduct a reasonable investigation, a professional liability policyholder may sue for policy benefits due under the policy, “consequential damages” (damages that are caused by the bad faith conduct), emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. We have seen an increase in professional liability insurance policy denials, as companies seek to avoid losses.
We can overcome these unnecessary obstacles made by insurers. Our attorneys have a deep legal understanding of insurance companies and professional liability policies. And we are more than prepared to fight insurance companies’ bad faith claims denials. We typically represent businesses with this type of insurance coverage on an hourly basis and provide coverage opinions to them.
Please Call us For a Free Consultation Regarding Your Professional Liability Matter
McKennon Law Group PC in Newport Beach, California, consistently and successfully represents clients in professional liability cases. If your claim has been denied, we are prepared to advocate on your behalf. For a free initial consultation, please fill out this free consultation form or call 1-949-570-5431.