Redlands, CA asked in Insurance Bad Faith and Civil Litigation for Virginia

Q: Which type of claim - declaratory judgement or other?

I filed a Warrant in Debt in VA General District Court against an insurance company for not paying a claim I made against my renter's insurance policy. The basis of my claim was that the damage should have been covered under the vandalism or malicious mischief peril. Malicious mischief is not defined within the insurance policy, so I was arguing that the insurance company was in breach of contract due to a normal persons interpretation of the term malicious mischief (term should include reckless disregard and not require intent).

The attorney for the insurance company filed a demurrer claiming that I was asking for a declaratory judgement by asking for the court to interpret the meaning of contract. The Judge agreed, stating that even if I won in the General District Court the insurer would likely appeal to a higher court anyway. I was told to refile in Circuit court.

Should I submit a request for declaratory judgement or would another type of claim be more appropriate?

1 Lawyer Answer
F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: A Declaratory Judgment Complaint would be your best avenue of approach based on your reported facts.

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