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Declaratory Judgment Actions in Insurance Coverage Cases

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Declaratory Judgment Actions in Insurance Coverage Cases

Because there are many advantages to resolving insurance coverage cases as early as possible, a majority of insurance coverage cases are disposed of through declaratory judgment actions. Courts in different states and even courts within the same state may handle declaratory judgment actions differently; therefore, hiring local counsel who is knowledgeable of the local rules and practices of the courts in which the motion will be filed is often critical to the early and successful resolution of insurance coverage disputes. Contact Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix, AZ, to schedule a consultation with an attorney at our firm to discuss how we can assist you in making strategic decisions, preparing motions and filing motions in insurance coverage cases.

The importance of resolving insurance coverage cases as quickly as possible

From the insurer's perspective, there are many advantages to obtaining a declaration of no coverage as early and as quickly as possible. Advantages to a quick declaration of no coverage include:

  • Reduced attorney fees. A significant reason for seeking a quick resolution is its potential to reduce the insurer's legal costs by reducing attorney fees incurred in bringing the declaratory judgment lawsuit. Additionally, in situations where the insurer is defending under a reservation of rights, a declaration of no coverage may eliminate the insurer's obligation to investigate or defend the underlying case. Local counsel who is familiar with local motion practice and experienced in handling summary judgment motions in insurance coverage cases can be critical to obtaining a quick and economical resolution to insurance coverage disputes.
  • Minimal discovery. Another advantage to an early and quick resolution through summary judgment is the reduction in time allowed for discovery. As the period for discovery increases, so does the chance that evidence will be discovered that creates ambiguity concerning coverage.
  • Strategic advantage. Where the insured's counsel is not experienced or knowledgeable in insurance coverage declaratory judgment actions, an early and quick declaration of no coverage helps to ensure that insured's counsel does not have additional time in which to gain the necessary knowledge to develop a strategy.

The importance of local counsel in declaratory judgment actions

Because the standards and procedures governing declaratory judgment actions vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, from district to district and even from judge to judge, local counsel with specific knowledge of local practice, specific motions or both is particularly important in motion practice. Local counsel's assistance can be critical to:

  • Planning strategy and making strategic decisions. Local counsel's knowledge of local courts and judges, local motion practice, local rules, and local customs can be invaluable when considering whether to file a declaratory judgment lawsuit.
  • Saving time and reducing costs. Because the standards and procedures governing declaratory judgment actions vary so widely, local counsel's knowledge of the standards and procedures governing a particular motion is often critical to realizing the advantages of seeking a declaratory judgment such as reduced attorney fees, minimal discovery, and strategic advantage.
  • Obtaining credibility. Counsel who is known by judges, who is known by opposing counsel, and who knows the courts, the judges, and other attorneys often gives the insurer credibility it could not otherwise achieve.

Speak to an insurance lawyer

The primary goals of declaratory judgment actions are to minimize danger of loss, to provide a remedy to the insurer instead of waiting for the insured to take initiative, to avoid multiple suits, and to achieve a speedy and more economical resolution. Contact Sanders & Parks, P.C. in Phoenix, AZ, to schedule a consultation with an attorney at our firm to discuss how we can assist you in effectively utilizing declaratory judgment lawsuits to resolve your insurance coverage disputes.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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