Arizona Car Accidents: The Inside Scoop On Bodily Injury & Property Damage
UPDATED: February 20, 2020
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Car accidents are handled a bit differently in every state. To get the inside scoop on how they are handled in Arizona, we interviewed Dave Wattel, an Arizona attorney who has been handling plaintiffs' cases exclusively for over 20 years. He explained the importance of attending to both bodily injuries and property damage after an accident occurs and how Arizona's pure comparative fault liability system works.
Arizona Auto Accident Lawyer Dave Wattel
In a recent interview, Wattel told us the way Arizona car accident cases are handled by his firm may be different than how they are handled by other firms. He told us, ï¿½We pride ourselves on assisting people with their property damage claims. Most other attorneys, as far as we know, donï¿½t represent people on their property damage claims and often ignore them completely.ï¿½
Wattel says that a clientï¿½s first and foremost concern, other than their health needs, is their vehicle ï¿½ whether it not be repaired or whether or not it be totaled. He explained, ï¿½Their major concern is getting that property damage resolved. We have a property damage department that is not only there to help, but to guide, direct and take control of the clientï¿½s property damage, making sure that itï¿½s resolved to the client's satisfaction.ï¿½
At the same time that Wattel's firm is dealing with property damage issues, it is also making certain that the client's medical needs are being addressed. He told us:
Some people have health insurance and we recommend they follow through with their family care doctor and/or other specialists that the family care doctor recommends. For people that donï¿½t have health insurance, we can help guide them to appropriate medical providers from family care on up to neurosurgery, depending upon their needs. Of course, weï¿½re not going to make any medical recommendations, but we will certainly put people in the hands of excellent providers who are either able to get the client well or try the very best they can. Weï¿½re also able to help find physicians on a no-out-of-pocket basis and that even includes elective surgery if necessary.
Arizona's pure comparative fault liability system
Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state when it comes to auto accidents. But what does that mean? Wattel provided the following example:
You take a pie that represents 100 percent of the liability and however many people have some responsibility; their liability has to add up to 100 percent. Other states have contributory negligence, which means that if you have any responsibility as a plaintiff, you donï¿½t get to collect.
In Arizona, if youï¿½re the plaintiff or claimant and you have a comparative responsibility, all it does is lessen the amount that you can collect by that comparative fault. For example, if the scenario is an 80/20 split, 80 percent is the responsibility of the defendant and 20 percent lies on the clientï¿½s part, the client can still collect 80 percent of their damages from the other driver.
If you've been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto accident attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. You may be entitled to compensation for injuries.