Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 19, 2020

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Arizona operates a bit differently when it comes to handling car accident claims’ especially when it comes to insurance laws. According to one legal expert, Arizona happens to be a fairly proactive and liberal state’ which is good for consumers.

Arizona Attorney Dave Wattel

Dave Wattel, an Arizona attorney who has been handling plaintiffs’ cases exclusively for over 20 years, says that insurance laws in Arizona are fairly proactive and liberal’ and that is good news for consumers. However, it wasn’t always that way. He told us,’You can thank former Chief Justice Stanley Feldman and the court that he oversaw a number of years ago, because many of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions for years found in favor of the insurer as opposed to the insured.’

Tackling underinsured claims

Although Wattel says that reasonable expectations of the insured doctrines seemed to apply, his firm has the ability to collect for people on their underinsured claims when a defendant causes an auto accident and doesn’t have enough coverage to compensate. He explained:

We can present an underinsured claim and if the insurance company has failed to have a sign off on underinsured coverage equal to the liability limit purchased, they’ve got to give that to the underinsured. Over the years, we have found that a number of carriers have not been diligent in terms of getting their insured to sign off on those, not be able to produce selection waivers and be able to find money for clients where we didn’t think money existed.

He provided the following example:

You’re involved in an Arizona car accident and your claim is worth $100,000. The other driver that causes the accident only has $50,000 in liability coverage, which you collect. You have purchased a $50,000 / $100,000 liability limit, and yet your insurance company only sold you $15,000 / $30,000 underinsured coverage. So, we ask for the selection waiver and they can’t produce it. Now, rather than only collecting the $15,000 underinsured coverage which you purchased, you’re going to collect the $50,000.00 underinsured coverage so that you’re able to be made whole.

There are many different situations and nuances under the law that Wattel’s firm has dealt with over the years, but he says that they’ll always use their thinking caps and do what they can to find money for a client when they’re deserving of the same.