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Insurance Defense

The Bowles Rice Insurance Defense Practice Group aggressively defends insureds in third-party liability cases, and skillfully represents insurers in first party actions, including uninsured and underinsured claims, coverage disputes, excess exposure claims and extra-contractual liability claims. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing insureds and insurers. We have tried hundreds of cases to verdict, and have successfully resolved countless others through mediation. Representative matters include:

  • Automobile Accident Defense
  • Premises Liability Claims (Slip & Falls)
  • Accident, Fire, Extended Coverage, Homeowners Insurance Claims
  • Uninsured Motorist, Underinsured Motorist Claims
  • Extra Contractual Liability (Unfair Trade Practices / Bad Faith)
  • Coverage Opinions
  • Insurance Coverage Disputes
  • Declaratory Judgment Actions
  • Comprehensive General Liability Policy (CGL Policy) Claims
  • Oilfield (Oil & Gas) Damage and Injury Claims
  • Professional Liability
  • Errors and Omissions
  • Medical Malpractice Liability
  • Legal Malpractice Liability
  • Municipal & Political Subdivision Claims
  • Transportation & Federal Motor Carrier Act Claims (Commercial Trucking)
  • West Virginia Insurance Commission Claims

The Bowles Rice Insurance Defense Practice Group represents some of the largest insurance companies and carriers in the United States. Currently, we are defending more than 100 active automobile claims, and numerous homeowner claims and commercial business claims. We have pending matters for more than 125 different insurance companies. In more complex matters, we have defended insureds in defective construction and design claims, catastrophic fire claims, geotechnical failures, and professional negligence. We are familiar with all aspects of insurance defense, no matter the issue or the type of claim.

Bowles Rice holds an AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Members of the Bowles Rice Insurance Defense Practice Group are listed on many insurance panels. The firm is listed in AM Best’s Register of Approved Insurance Lawyers. Individual members of the groups are listed in the Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Super Lawyers.

The Bowles Rice Insurance Defense Practice Group is committed to vigorously representing its clients in an ethical, efficient and cost effective manner. We are familiar with case budgeting, status reporting, billing and management guidelines and cost controls. Our fees are competitive with other firms in this practice area. Size is our strength, not a handicap. Measured on a four-square rating system, our time to case conclusion versus overall fees consistently rates A+. Our technology is second to none, providing a paperless work environment, electronic billing, access to over two million work-product documents and digital document access via our internet-based ClientNet . We believe that through the use of proactive case plans and client driven litigation strategies we enable our clients to achieve their litigation goals. Our firm mission is “to strive for our clients’ success as our own.” Our ultimate goal is to achieve excellence – from our client’s perspective.

Reported West Virginia Supreme Court Decisions:

  • Beachum v. White, WL 3185152 (2013)

    Estate of passenger, who died after jumping from driver's vehicle while arguing with him, brought action against driver.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled it was inadmissible hearsay to play the video-recorded interview of the Defendant by the Sheriff in rebuttal to Plaintiff’s case.

  • Sparks v. Groves, WL 3184920 (2013)

    Plaintiff brought action after his home-constructed dune buggy was rear-ended by pickup truck.  Mr. Mohler obtained a jury verdict in favor of the defendant, and convinced the Circuit Court to deny Plaintiff’s Motion for a new trial.  Jury verdict was upheld by West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, and found the testimony by the deputy sheriff that a dune buggy was not roadworthy due to improper lighting was proper testimony.

  • Courtney v. Elias, 2012 WL 3055448 (2012)

    Plaintiff brought suit pursuant to the family purpose doctrine against father of driver whose vehicle struck Plaintiff’s.  Mr. Mohler obtained summary judgment in favor of the father, which was upheld by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

  • State Farm v. McClanahan, 229 W.Va. 73, 726 S.E.2d 41 (2011)

    Judgment appealed to West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on issue of how to properly calculate prejudgment interest on a judgment or decree.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled previous payments are to be offset prior to calculation of prejudgment interest.

  • Spencer v. McClure, 618 S.E.2d 451 (2005)

    Vehicle occupants involved in chain-reaction, multiple-car traffic accident brought personal injury action against motorist who failed to stop before colliding with vehicles at accident site.  Mr. Mohler obtained a directed verdict  in favor of the motorist, which was upheld by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, on the grounds that the Plaintiff failed to prove she was injured as a proximate result of the collision with the Defendant’s vehicle as opposed to the other two vehicles.

  • Cook v. Cook, 607 S.E.2d 459 (2004)

    Plaintiff motorist sought to obtain future damages based upon future Air National Guard wages and benefits that she allegedly lost. The Circuit Court denied the request, finding proof of permanent injury was required to claim future damages, and certified the question.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals disagreed with the Circuit Court and held that permanent physical impairment was not the only type of lasting consequence which would sustain an award of future damages, such as for future earnings.  

  • Hall v. Casto, 572 S.E.2d 912 (2002)

    A plaintiff, represented by Mr. Mohler, brought a malpractice action against a chiropractor.  At trial, and over Mr. Mohler’s objection, the Circuit Court allowed admission of an audiotape when an accurate copy had not been provided in response to Mr. Mohler’s discovery motion.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. Mohler, reversed the Circuit Court, and remanded the case for a new trial.

  • Pauley v. Bays, 490 S.E.2d 61 (1997)

    Plaintiff motorist requested a new trial on the issue of damages after the jury awarded her $20,000 in damages and found her to be 40% at fault.  The Circuit Court granted the Plaintiff’s motion.  Mr. Mohler, representing the Defendant, appealed.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. Mohler and held that the evidence supported the jury’s verdict.

  • State ex rel. State Farm v. Canady, 475 S.E.2d 107 (1996)

    State Farm, represented by Mr. Mohler, sought to appear in its own name as the plaintiff’s insurance carrier rather than to defend in the name of the uninsured motorist.  The Circuit Court refused to allow State Farm to appear in its own name.  In response, Mr. Mohler filed a writ of prohibition against the Circuit Court judge.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals granted the writ of prohibition and allowed State Farm to appear and defend in its own name.

  • Johnson v. Garlow, 478 S.E.2d 347 (1996)

    Plaintiff motorist brought action against driver of following vehicle to recover for injuries she sustained in a rear-end collision. The jury did not award any damages to the plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs appealed, and argued that Mr. Mohler impermissibly cross-examined plaintiff about prior accidents and impermissibly impeached the plaintiff’s witness.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals disagreed, and determined that Mr. Mohler’s questioning was permissible.

  • State ex rel. State Farm v. Madden, 451 S.E.2d 721 (1994)

    A pedestrian was injured in a slip and fall outside of Wendy’s.  State Farm was joined as a defendant.  Mr. Mohler, representing Wendy’s, sought writs of prohibition against the Circuit Court based upon evidentiary rulings.  The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals determined that State Farm could be joined as a defendant as long as certain claims against it were bifurcated, that the Circuit Court abused its discretion by prohibiting Wendy’s from cross-examining an allegedly disabled pedestrian regarding employment activities, and by prohibiting Wendy’s from eliciting testimony from a private investigator.

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