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interlocutory appeal

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.

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