These are generally referred to as Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) policies, Garage Keeper’s policies, and Business insurance. Like Homeowner’s policies, they initially offer broad coverage and then limit that coverage with pages of exclusions. Although these policies have a great number of exclusions, those exclusions are subject to interpretation and some have a long history of case law defining how they are to be applied. Unfortunately, there are many provisions that have little or no case law that has been decided by the courts, leading to disagreements over their true meaning.
Attorney McMaster’s experience with insurance denials will provide you the best opportunity to recover your damages.
If you have a claim for property damage or a personal injury claim (referred to as a “bodily injury” claim under the policy), these commercial policies vary as to what types of harm they will cover. For example, in April 2015, the Federal District Court in Massachusetts interpreted the extent of an exclusion on a commercial policy relating to loading and unloading of trucks. The court stated that the insurer’s interpretation would have rendered the policy meaningless. The court’s interpretation extended coverage for the injured person.
Attorney McMaster will review your case and give you an honest assessment of your situation. There are a number of factors that need to be considered in order to determine the success of your claim.
The business was notified by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection that pollution was found in the ground of the property in which it was conducting operations. The business notified its insurer to have the policy cover the defense costs and the clean-up costs. The insurer denied coverage for four years. The client then hired Attorney McMaster. Attorney McMaster brought suit against the insurer and received a successful decision from the court.
The insurer then sought to dismiss the bad faith claims action brought against it and the matter was taken all the way to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Attorney McMaster prevailed in an important decision when the Supreme Judicial Court stated that the insurer’s payment of out-of-pocket expenses did not invalidate the bad faith claim – an issue of first impression in Massachusetts.
See: Auto Flat Car Crushers, Inc. v. Hanover Insurance Company, 469 Mass 813 (2014)
The client was operating his motorcycle safely on a public street when he was struck head-on by an automobile that drove onto his side of the road. He had numerous serious and life-threatening injuries but managed to survive with the help of excellent medical care.
The insurer of the automobile that struck the client had a $1 million policy in effect on the day of the collision. However, a few weeks after Attorney McMaster contacted the automobile insurer, the insurance company tried to claim that the policy had been canceled two days before the collision.
Attorney McMaster pursued a bad faith insurance practices claim against the insurance company to obtain compensation for his badly injured client. After a hard-fought battle, he proved that the insurance company had wrongfully denied his client’s claims and that they improperly canceled the policy. The claim settled for $2.4 million dollars.
This case is a good example that in order to successfully make a claim for an injured person, the attorney not only has to be experienced in personal injury law but also needs to have the knowledge and experience to understand insurance policies. Many times, insurers will try to deny claims saying that, for one reason or another, the policy does not provide coverage for the injuries. It is then that an attorney experienced in “coverage issues” can separate the legitimate denials from the improper denials and hold the insurer accountable for those improper denials. This is the difference between obtaining compensation for your injuries and closing your case with no recovery because you and your inexperienced attorney assume the insurer is correct.
Call 508-393-9200 to schedule an appointment. Conveniently located in Northborough, Attorney John J. McMaster will analyze your situation and offer sound advice.