News & Resources

Keeping you informed is part of our mission.

Product Liability Lawsuit FAQs

Mon Sep 30th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Experienced Insurance Litigation Lawyer in Miami, FL

If you are operating a business in which you could be sued, or have been sued, for distributing a defective product, then you may be facing significant liability.  In fact, product liability disputes are so disruptive that they can bring business to a standstill if you are unprepared for defending against potentially hundreds of claims.

Typically, businesses purchase comprehensive insurance plans that cover their commercial products.  The mere fact that you’ve purchased such a plan is not necessarily a guarantee of real-world coverage, however.  Particularly in cases where the insurer could be exposed to significant costs for handling the defense, the insurer will look for various “outs” to avoid having to engage their duties under the policy.  They may argue that a coverage exclusion applies, for example, or that your policy was not active at the time of the incident.

We understand that product liability disputes can be confusing, and as such, we encourage you to contact Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A. to consult with an experienced Miami insurance litigation lawyer at our firm.

Before you speak to one of our attorneys, however, you may have some questions about product liability and insurance denials.  Let’s take a brief look at some common concerns that clients have.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a Claims-Based and an Occurrence-Based policy?

Your insurance policy will either be claims-based or occurrence-based, and this could have a significant impact on whether you are eligible for coverage.

A claims-based product liability insurance policy entitles you to coverage for any claims brought against you during the applicable policy period.  In other words, if you purchased a policy that was active between September 2017 and September 2018, and the plaintiff brought their claim against you during that time period, then you are potentially entitled to a defense and insurance coverage.

By contrast, an occurrence-based policy entitles you to coverage for any claims that arise from an incident occurring during the applicable policy period.  Returning to our above-example, let’s suppose that the incident occurred in 2016.  Under those circumstances, you would not be entitled to a defense/insurance coverage, as the “occurrence” happened before the policy period.

Q: Does an insurer have to defend me in the lawsuit?

Yes, generally speaking.  Assuming that your insurance policy includes a provision imposing a duty-to-defend on the insurer, you are entitled to a defense (and potentially to indemnification).  Insurers are obligated to defend their insureds so long as the insured can show that there is potential for coverage under their policy — even if there ultimately ends up being “no coverage” or if the claims are eventually dismissed.

Q: What happens if my insurer refuses to defend me in litigation, even when they know they have a duty to defend me?

Under Florida law, your insurer may be held liable for failing in their duty to defend you, and potentially for bad faith misconduct.  Bad faith insurance liability could give you access to significant damages as compensation and is worth litigating.

It’s worth noting that the “duty to defend” requires reasonable defense services.  For example, an insurer must engage the defense properly.  If a reasonable settlement is possible, then they must evaluate the possible offers and consider them.  Insurers who back away from a potential resolution (despite it being reasonable under the circumstances) may be found liable. Contact a Miami insurance litigation lawyer at our firm today for help with your case.

Super Lawyers
Florida Legal Elite
Top Lawyer - South Florida Legal Guide
Association of Corporate Counsel - South Florida Chapter
Back to top