California Insurance Lawyers: Duty to Defend
Insurance companies have two main responsibilities to their policyholders: the duty to indemnify — or pay benefits for valid claims — and the duty to defend the insured against legal actions. The failure to defend a policyholder in a lawsuit is a form of insurance bad faith.
If someone fell and became injured at your home and sued you for damages, your insurance company has a duty to defend you against the lawsuit. If you were sued for causing a car accident that resulted in injuries, your insurance company is obligated to defend you.
Failure to defend a policyholder can be financially devastating for the insured. You or your firm could be facing millions of dollars in damages.
If your insurance company refused to defend you or your firm, you may have legal recourse. Contact Pillsbury & Levinson, LLP in San Francisco today. We will review your case and determine whether the insurance company's failure to defend you constitutes breach of contract or insurance bad faith.
Choosing an Attorney
The insurance company can select the attorney who will defend you. If that lawyer has a conflict of interest, however, you will be able select your own attorney at the insurance company's expense.
The duty to defend includes the responsibility to accept a reasonable settlement offer. An insurance company that refuses to accept a settlement and then goes on to lose at trial can leave a policyholder personally liable for significant damages.
For effective representation in insurance bad faith claims involving the failure of an insurance company to defend a policyholder, please contact Pillsbury & Levinson, LLP in San Francisco today. In many cases, we help our clients recover both actual damages and punitive damages, as well as attorney's fees, from the insurance company.