An appeal allowed before final judgment. Insurance coverage matters typically
involve two questions: is there coverage, and, if so, how much is the insurer
required to pay? The coverage question normally turns on a trial judge's legal
interpretation of policy language. The indemnity question is normally decided
by a jury based on factual evidence of the injured party's damages. If the trial
judge incorrectly determines that a claim is covered, it would be a waste of
time, effort, and resources to hold an unnecessary trial on the issue of damages,
obtain an unnecessary jury verdict, and then allow the insurer to take an appeal
from the final judgment to have the prior incorrect coverage determination reviewed.
Therefore, most states have procedural mechanisms by which insurers may request
that the trial judge use his or her discretion to allow a special interlocutory
appeal of an insurance coverage determination before the issue of damages is
tried to a jury.