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The Pivotal Law Blog

The Brave New World of Cybercrime Insurance Coverage Disputes

Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Computer crime and data breaches have become a reality for most businesses. Words like spearphshing or ransomware that were obscure five years ago are now in the headlines on a regular basis. The FBI calculated over $1.4 billion in reported losses from…

Court of Appeals Reiterates Insurer’s Obligation to Protect Policyholder From Lawsuit

Posted Thursday, August 16, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

When a driver crashes into another vehicle and is sued for damages, the driver's insurer typically has an obligation to defend the lawsuit and act in good faith to protect its insured's interests. When the insurer fails to do so, the driver likely has…

Washington Updates “Mandatory” Arbitration Statute

Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2018 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Washington, civil cases involving claims less than $50,000, which are filed in Superior Court, are referred into the court-sponsored “mandatory” arbitration program. Under this process, an attorney with at least five years of experience is appointed…

Health Insurer Fined For Violating Independent Review Rules

Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Washington's insurance commissioner recently announced a $100,000 fine in response to a consumer complaint that Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, an HMO, ignored consumers' rights in the health claims appeal process. The commissioner found that Kaiser…

Case law update: The “self-service” exception for a Slip and Fall injury at a Grocery Store

Posted Friday, July 6, 2018 by Christopher L. Thayer

In a December 2017 decision, the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division III, addressed a slip and fall personal injury claim where claimant fell in the shampoo aisle of a Walmart in Sunnyside. In McPherson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 34696-0-III…

Pet Insurance: Read The Fine Print

Posted Thursday, June 28, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Great Danes might be the best dogs - they're calm, require relatively little exercise and space, and are super affectionate towards their human family. Unlike a lot of needier breeds who need constant activity, Danes reputedly just want to chill with you…

The Importance of Addressing Digital Assets in Estate Planning

Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

More than ever, technology is fundamental to our lives. In 2018, even hardened luddites maintain email, social media, and/or cloud-storage accounts, or store considerable information on their smartphones. Maintaining digital information electronically…

Health Plans Can’t Discriminate Against Mental Health Treatment Says Ninth Circuit

Posted Thursday, June 14, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Among the challenges of a mental health condition is the difficulty persuading health insurers to cover treatment. Mental health conditions can be difficult to objectively diagnose and can require lengthy and expensive treatment often with little…

Insurance Dispute Timing

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

How Long Do I Have To Dispute An Insurance Claim?* If your insurer denies your claim or takes some action with which you disagree, how long do you have to dispute the insurer’s decision? For example, if your health insurer refuses to authorize surgery…

Washington Supreme Court Strikes Down “Maximum Medical Improvement” Limits in Auto Policy Coverage

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

On June 7, 2018, the Washington Supreme Court, in Durant v. State Farm, ruled insurers may not limit payments to policyholders under auto insurance Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) to only treatment needed for the insured to reach “maximum medical…

Washington Court of Appeals Emphasizes Insurers May Not Categorically Ignore Their Insureds’ Treating Physicians

Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Shannon Leahy found herself in a common situation when dealing with her auto insurer following a car crash. Her insurer agreed she was not at fault, but refused to pay her claim, arguing her medical treatment was unrelated to the crash. Ms. Leahy’s…

Case Law Update: Recreational Use Immunity Act Clarified

Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2018 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Lockner v. Pierce County (No. 94643-4, April 19, 2018), the Washington Supreme Court recently revisited Washington’s Recreational Use Immunity Act and clarified its application. RCW 4.24.210 provides protection for owners of recreational property…

How Will Insurance Cover Self-Driving Cars?

Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

Self-driving vehicles are already on roads in several cities and are predicted to become normal in the next few decades. How will your insurance cover you if you’re the operator of a self-driving car? If someone else’s self-driving car injures you or…

Pivotal Attorney McKean Evans Published in King County Bar Association Bulletin

Posted Thursday, May 3, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

The May edition of the King County Bar Association's Bar Bulletin features an artile by Pivotal attorney McKean Evans. McKean discusses the Washington Court of Appeals' recent decision expanding insurance bad faith claims against individual adjusters and…

Washington Federal Court Rejects Insurer Efforts to Limit Policyholder Recovery to Bare Policy Benefit

Posted Wednesday, May 2, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

In its April 23, 2018 decision in Williams v. Foremost Insurance Co., 2:17-CV-1113-RSM, 2018 WL 1907523 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 23, 2018), the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington analyzed and rejected a frequent argument insurers make in…

Case law update: City of Seattle potentially liable for slip and fall on metal plate on sidewalk.

Posted Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Sluys v. City of Seattle et al**, No. 76131-5-1 (April 9, 2018), in an unpublished decision the Court of Appeals, Division 1, recently ruled the City of Seattle was potentially liable for injuries suffered by a pedestrian who slipped and fell on a…

Ninth Circuit Decision Shows Life Insurance Pitfalls for Policyholders; Clarifies Diversity Jurisdiction in Insurance Disputes

Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

The Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling in Elhouty v. Lincoln Benefit Life, Case No. 15-16740 (March 27, 2018) is notable for two reasons. It illustrates the pitfalls of certain life insurance policies that supposedly pay for themselves, and it clarifies the…

Department of Labor’s New ERISA Claims Regulations Restore Important Rights to Insureds

Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

For insureds, ERISA (which governs most employer-sponsored insurance) has a serious downside. Insureds and plan participants who dispute the company’s denial of their claims for coverage or benefits must submit to ERISA’s administrative appeal process…

Court of Appeals Clears the Way for Bad Faith Suits Against Individual Insurance Adjusters

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

On March 26, 2018, the Court of Appeals (Division One) issued an important published ruling upholding claims against an individual insurance adjuster for insurance bad faith and violations of the Consumer Protection Act (Ch. 19.86 RCW). In Keodalah v…

McKean Evans Speaks at Continuing Legal Education Event

Posted Friday, March 30, 2018 by Pivotal Law Group

This morning, attorney McKean Evans spoke regarding Washington’s newly-revised Uniform Power of Attorney Act at a Continuing Legal Education seminar hosted by the King County Bar Association…

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