A founding partner at Gibbs Law Group, Eric has negotiated groundbreaking settlements that resulted in meaningful reforms to unlawful business practices. He was recently recognized as California Lawyer Attorney of the Year and was named to the Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California for 2019.
Possibly yes; it depends on the policy, and it depends on whether you take action.
Because this is a new and evolving situation, courts and government officials are making decisions on insurance coverage for coronavirus right now.
Some insurance policies are better than others for supporting these claims, but the bottom line is that every policy is different and needs to be evaluated as such.
We can evaluate your business interruption insurance policy for free, and we are working to help businesses assess whether their policies should cover their losses. If we decide that we’re able to help, we can assist you with the process of filing an insurance claim, or potentially filing a lawsuit if your insurer refuses to pay.
Will It Be Expensive If I Get Help From Your Law Firm?
We can help your business with no out-of-pocket cost to you.
First, we can evaluate your policy for free. Then, if we determine that we can help, our work is done on a contingency fee basis. That means if we file a business interruption insurance lawsuit on your behalf, we only get paid if successfully recover money from your insurance provider.
How Can I Tell if I Have Business Interruption Insurance?
If you have it, it may be rolled into one of the following:
- General liability insurance
- Commercial property insurance
- Business owner’s insurance
You should be aware that whenever you renew your policy, it’s common for insurers to send you only a few pages with updates to “declarations,” which lists limits to the main policy. You may have gotten a full copy of your policy at the time that you first purchased the insurance; you can also ask your insurance agent for a full copy.
If you send us your policy, we can help determine whether you have business interruption insurance.
Don’t assume what they’re saying is right. You should know that insurance companies do all they can to avoid paying out. During this pandemic, we’ve heard of insurance companies instructing agents to discourage business owners from filing claims by issuing blanket statements about not covering coronavirus.
But the law requires insurance companies to fairly consider each claim. That includes investigating the details of your specific situation and considering the specific wording of your policy.
The law also says that insurance companies don’t have the final say on whether the policies they’ve sold covers coronavirus; a court can still rule in your favor. If you send us a copy of your policy, we can help determine whether you have a claim.
What If My Policy Has A Clause Excluding Virus?
You may still have a claim. In the past several years, some insurance companies have unilaterally added a clause attempting to exclude virus in the policies they’ve sold.
However, insurance law says that the burden is on insurers to be clear in their language. For example, the clause may exclude contamination from virus, but your property may have been closed due to government orders, rather than virus contamination. If something is ambiguous, there’s a strong argument that you should get more coverage rather than less.
What Should I Do Next?
- Send us a copy of your policy: be sure to send a copy of the full policy, rather than just the “declarations”
- Maintain records of your business losses and expenses.
- Maintain records of all communication with your insurance company: keep in mind that it’s possible for insurance agents to say something on the phone but then fail to follow through.
- Be aware that many insurance companies have a tactic of denying claims first: if this happens, we can tell you whether we think you still have a claim, and you can decide whether to file a lawsuit.
Andre represents plaintiffs in high-stakes complex litigation and appeals in state and federal courts throughout the country. He has authored briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court and received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award in 2019.
Amy Zeman represents clients in a wide variety of complex litigation, with experience working closely with class representatives and consumer contacts. She uses her prior career experience as an accounting/ compliance manager in the financial services sector to identify and investigate fraud claims.
Aaron Blumenthal represents consumers, employees, and whistleblowers in class action and other complex litigation.
Andrew is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and the Co-Chair of the firm’s award-winning Consumer Protection practice group. Mr. Friedman is a nationally recognized leader in the area of complex, multi-state lawsuits against major insurers, credit card companies, and other manufacturers and service providers.
Geoffrey leads Cohen Milstein’s Business Interruption Insurance team. As a Partner and a member of the Consumer Protection practice group, he specializes in complex litigation involving false advertising, fraud, and other forms of unfair business practices at the hands of insurance companies, banks, health care companies, and others.
Victoria is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and Co-Chair of the firm’s Public Client practice. She represents clients in civil law enforcement investigations and litigation involving consumer protection, fraud, and other areas of enforcement.
Eric A. Kafka
Eric is a member of Cohen Milstein’s Consumer Protection practice. He also serves on Public Justice’s Class Action Preservation Committee.
Karina G. Puttieva
Karina is a member of Cohen Milstein’s Consumer Protection practice and focuses on litigating class actions on behalf of consumers who have been harmed by large corporations.
About Our Award-Winning Legal Team
We have assembled a coalition of two prominent law firms – Gibbs Law Group and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll – with expertise in successfully litigating insurance fraud claims and other complex litigation. Spanning from the east to west coast, our firms have earned numerous awards for our innovative strategies and relentless efforts to advance and protect plaintiffs’ rights in complex cases, class actions and individual litigation.
Our clients benefit from our size and resources. Our attorneys have litigated against some of the largest corporations in the world, and we have recovered billions of dollars on our clients’ behalf. Together, our team is committed to going above and beyond for our clients as we strive to protect their rights.
Gibbs Law Group
Gibbs Law Group is a California-based law firm committed to protecting the rights of clients nationwide who have been harmed by corporate misconduct. We represent small businesses, individuals, whistleblowers, and employees across the U.S. against the world’s largest corporations. Our award-winning lawyers have achieved landmark recoveries and over a billion dollars for our clients in high-stakes complex lawsuits and individual cases involving consumer protection, data breach, digital privacy, and federal and California employment lawsuits. Our attorneys have received numerous honors for their work, including:
- Daily Journal, “Top Boutique Law Firms in California” (2019)
- Law360, “Titans of the Plaintiffs Bar- Eric Gibbs” (2019)
- Law360, “Class Action Practice Group of the Year” (2020)
- Daily Journal, Two “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Awards” (2019)
- Daily Journal, “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California- Eric Gibbs” (2019, 2016)
- Best Lawyers in America (2012-2019)
Cohen Milstein’s award-winning Consumer Protection practice is at the forefront of representing individuals, retailers, restaurants, and other small businesses in insurance fraud and coverage litigation, having litigated individual and class action lawsuits against many of the leading health, life, and property and casualty insurance companies before state and federal courts across the United States.
We have received numerous accolades for our work in consumer law:
- Law360, “Consumer Protection Group of the Year: Cohen Milstein” (2019)
- Law360, “Practice Group of the Year – Consumer Protection” (2018)
- The National Law Journal, “Winner – Elite Trial Lawyers – Consumer” (2018)
- Law360, “Practice Group of the Year – Class Action” (2017)
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