Each year the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), puts on its annual Insurance Law Seminar. Each year WSAJ brings in speakers from across the state—and sometimes across the country—to educate plaintiffs lawyers on developments in the law and new approaches to help in representing our clients. This year was no different.
On May 8, the attorneys from Schauermann Thayer each attended this important seminar where we honed old skills, and learned a few new tricks. Three of us (Bill Thayer, Scott Staples, and myself) made the trek to Seattle. Attorneys Brad Thayer and Ben Melnick both watched from the office via video-transmission. Topics included (with a non-legal explanation followed in parentheses):
- The current status of the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (the Washington law that mandates how insurance companies must treat their insureds);
- Homeowner Bad Faith Claims (what to do when insurance companies don’t act fairly when processing home owner claims);
- Risk Pools (a sort of quasi-insurance used by governments and municipalities);
- UIM Bad Faith in Motor Vehicle Collisions (how to identify when an insurance company is not treating you fairly after a car crash);
- Discovery in a UIM Bad Faith Case (what sort of documents do we need to ask for when we sue our client’s insurance company following a crash);
- A general update about new Washington cases (what were the key cases that affected our clients this past year);
- Personal Injury Protection (how to handle a personal injury protection (or PIP) claim);
- Looking at 3rd Party Bad Faith (how to know if the other driver’s insurance company is treating our clients fairly);
- Bad Faith from the Perspective of a Defense Attorney (what do the insurance companies and their attorneys think about what Washington State requires of them);
- Trying Insurance Bad Faith and Consumer Protection Cases (what tips do the most experienced attorneys in Washington have for trying these types of cases);
- Behaving Ethically and Civilly When the Defense Attorney Doesn’t (no explanation is needed—this is not always an easy task);
- Using Experts in Bad Faith Cases (what type of professional witnesses do we need when bringing a bad faith claim
Keeping current and knowledgeable about these topics is no small task. Indeed, the area of law we practice is filled with landmines for the unwary and we all recognize the importance of this type of continuing education. Speaking only for myself, I’ve attended this seminar every year since becoming a Plaintiff’s attorney—it’s that important. We routinely utilize the things we learn in our everyday practice and implement the strategies as we represent our clients.
We know our clients have many options when it comes to hiring a personal injury attorney and want to provide the kind of service that kind of trust deserves. It’s through educational opportunities like these that we equip ourselves to do so.