The Duty to Defend: The Most Powerful Concept of Insurance Law

Holding the Insurer to Its Commitment to Defend You

At the core of every liability insurance policy lies the insurer's duty to defend the insured upon proper tender of a covered third-party claim. The duty to defend has been held to be broader than the duty to indemnify. In other words, the insurer's responsibility to support your defense in a lawsuit is harder to avoid than its responsibility to pay any damages proved against you or your company.

If you find yourself named as a defendant in a civil action, it's vitally important to establish your liability insurer's responsibility to assume its duty of defense. To learn how the attorneys of Callahan & Blaine have earned a national reputation for our ability to uphold the insured's right to defense in a wide range of situations, contact our office in Santa Ana.

Getting the Most Out of the Insured's Right to Defense of a Covered Claim

In high-stakes or complex civil litigation, it's not uncommon to find yourself embroiled in a dispute with your own insurer that's every bit as intense as the lawsuit you need to defend. At Callahan & Blaine, we know how to resolve liability insurance issues on terms that can allow you to assert an effective defense in the main action, even if the insurer reserves or asserts its rights in any of several ways:

  • Accepting coverage of fewer than all of the adverse claims
  • Reserving the right to deny indemnification of any liability found against you
  • Refusing defense on the basis of exclusions or conditions
  • Exercising control of the litigation, from appointment of defense counsel to settlement of the case
  • Filing a declaratory judgment action to define, limit or eliminate its liability under the policy
  • Declining the duty to defend or indemnify after first accepting it with reservations

The trial lawyers of Callahan & Blaine combine a thorough understanding of California insurance law with highly advanced litigation and courtroom skills. Our ability to hold the insurer to its duty to defend you on a wide range of tort claims can help you present an effective defense on the merits to claims of negligence, unfair competition, advertising injury, copyright infringement or misappropriation of trade secrets.

We advise clients about the scope of their defense and indemnification rights under all kinds of liability insurance: commercial general coverage, errors and omissions insurance, professional liability policies, directors and officers insurance, and even homeowners or auto insurance policies.

Callahan & Blaine works with the insured on liability coverage issues in disputes of all kinds from San Diego and Orange County to the Bay Area and beyond. Contact us in Santa Ana if your liability insurer refuses to accept the defense of a claim against you without reservations, and we can advise you about the best ways to take full advantage of your rights.