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Intentional Misconduct is Not Covered by Commercial General Liability Insurance

Thu Jan 17th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Miami Insurance Law Firm

If you’re being sued by a third-party due to them having suffered injuries in an accident that could implicate your commercial general liability (CGL) insurance coverage, then you may find yourself facing new and unexpected challenges.

Insurers have a tendency to deny claims when they can just barely justify doing so, even if they are making bold and unsupported assumptions.  In the CGL insurance context, this often happens with regard to intentional misconduct.  If the insurer can paint your behavior as intentional misconduct, and not merely negligence or recklessness, then they can legitimately deny your claim and avoid having to payout.

Intentional misconduct is typically not covered by CGL insurance.  As such, the key to recovering your benefits is in clearly establishing that the conduct at-issue does not demonstrate intent.

Intent Can Be Difficult to Prove

Unless the circumstances clearly indicate an intent to violate the law or otherwise cause harm, then the insurer may find that painting a picture of your conduct as intentional is quite difficult. 

For example, suppose that the defendant slips and injures themselves in your retail store.  Your insurer is refusing to payout for the damages, however, because they believe that the injury was caused by your intentional misconduct — that you wanted to hurt the customer, so you spilled water on the floor to cause them to slip and fall.  In order for the insurer to prove that you intentionally caused the injuries, they’d have to find evidence of your intent, such as emails discussing your intention to spill water and cause injuries, video footage or eyewitness testimony of you spilling water on the floor intentionally, etc.

Assumptions Should Be Avoided

CGL insurers have a duty to defend and indemnify you in the event of a covered third-party lawsuit.  Defending you in litigation can be costly, however, and so the insurer may make a decision to decline taking up your defense, arguing that they are not entitled to satisfy their “duty to defend” since you engaged in intentional misconduct (which is not covered by the policy).  If the insurer does not have sufficient, objective evidence to make this decision, and is simply going off an assumption, then you might be entitled to bring a bad faith cause of action against your insurer for damages.

Contact Our Miami Insurance Law Firm for Help

Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A. is a Miami-based insurance litigation firm.  We have extensive experience representing policyholders in disputes with insurance companies, including those that center around a liability insurance conflict involving an accusation of intentional misconduct.

Unlike many of our competitors, we have a commitment to each and every one of our policyholder-clients.  Though deep engagement is important for making sure that clients are comfortable, there are objective advantages, too.  We work closely with clients throughout the dispute process so that we have all the information we need to effectively advocate on their behalf.

Call 305-577-3996 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced attorney at our highly-reputed Miami insurance law firm today.

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