Law Office of Keith D. Miller

Insurance Law - An Overview

Most people own at least some type of insurance, such as auto, health, life, home, disability, fire/casualty, renters, title, marine, or long-term care insurance. Businesses and professionals often also take out insurance, including small business, liability, and workers compensation insurance. Insurance law primarily revolves around issues arising out of a contract between the insurance company and the insured party.  Our office has years of experience assisting insurance companies, individuals and businesses with contract interpretation and litigation.

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Subrogation

Once an insurer pays a claim a determination must be made whether the loss is due to the conduct of a third party.  Our office frequently becomes involved during the investigation stages of the claim to ensure that the proper parties are on notice, spoliation claims are avoided and potential subrogation claims are preserved.  Once payment has been made we promptly file against the responsible parties, whether in court or other some other forum such as intercompany arbitration.  Since the insurer is usually limited to the same statute of limitations as the policy holder, retaining an attorney at an early stage is essential.

 

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
 

Most insurers fail to begin any significant preparation for a UM/SUM claim until a demand for arbitration has been filed.  Recent court decisions have been curtailing the amount and type of investigation an insurer is allowed after that demand is filed.  Our firm has procedures in place to provide as much information at an early stage of the claim, to preserve rights to EUO's and IME's and possibly dismiss the claim altogether.  The law directs claimants to comply with our procedures or risk being precluded from any benefit under the endorsement.

Although most New York Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage endorsements include territory clauses, the Insurance Law and the courts have held that coverage must be provided for out of state accidents equal to the minimum amount mandated by that state.  However, these situations frequently involve choice of law decisions.  Which state's substantive law is applied?  Which threshold is applied?  Our office is experienced with choice of law issues, including declaratory judgment actions to provide certainty to the parameters that will be used to decide whether a claimant is entitled to compensation.

 

Defense of Claims

Duty to Defend - The Role of the Insurance Company

Most insurance policies include a clause that places the duty to defend any action initiated by a third party against an insured individual on the insurance company as long as the cause of action is covered by the policy. Insurance companies have a duty to defend an insured individual even if an allegation is groundless, false, or fraudulent; thus, an insurance company may be required to defend an insured even if no obligation to pay out proceeds exists. An insurance company must defend an insured party any time an action is filed against the insured individual where the allegations of a third party would result in a claim; however, an insurance company is only obligated to pay out proceeds to the insured party if there is a legal obligation to pay.

If you have questions about the duty to defend, contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an attorney.

 

Coverage and Bad Faith Insurance Claims

First party benefits and claims involve many landmines for insurance companies.  Our office is experienced in negotiating the various requirements that insurance companies must follow when investigating and evaluating these claims.  Whether the issue involves the interpretation of a portion of the insurance contract or determining whether an exclusion applies our clients can be confident that they will be given sound advice and representation, whether the claim is in suit or not.

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Insurance Law Resource Links

Online Lawyer Source
Online Lawyer Source is a Web site that is built and maintained by law firms and legal associations around the country. This Web site provides legal information and news about a wide variety of legal topics.

Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute
This Web site is maintained by Cornell Law School and provides legal information about a wide variety of legal topics, including insurance law. This site also offers all opinions of the United States Supreme Court since 1992.

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The Law Office of Keith D. Miller serves clients throughout central New York and the Capitol District including Broome County, Cayuga County, Chenango County, Cortland County, Herkimer County, Jefferson County, Lewis County, Madison County, Monroe Montgomery County, Oneida County, Onondaga County, Ontario County, Oswego County, Otsego County, Saratoga County, Schuyler County, Seneca County, Lawrence County, Tioga County, Tompkins County, Yates County, Wayne County, as well as the cities of Syracuse, Watertown, Utica, Rochester, Binghamton, Ithaca, Lowville, and Oswego.

1000 7th North Street – Suite 120 – Liverpool, NY 13088 / Phone: (315) 701-5768 / E-mail / Fax: (315) 701-5770

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