Coverage Experience Matters
Lawyers are becoming increasingly specialized even though many bar associations don’t allow “specialization.” People getting a divorce know not to look for a probate attorney. Experience avoids pitfalls in the legal system and actually saves money in reducing the hours spent.
The field of insurance law has numerous subdivisions. Some lawyers have more experience in given areas than others. For instance, most lawyers who do defense work litigate third-party claims. The issues are simple; who is at fault and how much damage? Many of these same attorneys are unfamiliar with first-party coverage questions.
In first-party coverage disputes, you play by different rules. If your lawyer isn’t familiar with the rules, it’s not the ideal time for him to learn.
One of the first questions you should ask a lawyer is, “what is the different between a first-party and a third-party claim?” If the lawyer can’t answer the question, you know he hasn’t handled a lot of coverage matters, declaratory actions, interpleaders, and/or bad faith.
Contract disputes aren’t resolved by who was at fault. An insurance policy is a “contract,” not at “accident.” It is far easier for attorneys familiar with first-party work to handle liability cases than the other way around. While any licensed attorney can give advice on first-party claims and coverage issues, most clients prefer experience.
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