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Property Damage

Property Damage Attorney Phoenix

Crashed Car After Collision

Because insurance is regulated on a state-by-state basis, the following information is generalized. To determine your rights in your state, please refer to your contract of insurance or give us a call (toll-free and without obligation) at (877) 572-4143 to discuss Property Damage issues.

Contract of insurance (“policy”):

It is essential to know that your insurance “policy” is actually a legally binding contract with specific terms and conditions governing you and the insurer. As it relates to property damage, there are two important parts of the insurance contract – liability coverage and collision coverage (damage to your automobile).

Liability coverage pertains to damage done to someone else’s property in the event YOU are at fault in an accident. Under the liability coverage portion of your insurance contract, your insurer promises to either PAY for the damage on your behalf or DEFEND you (the policyholder). In the event of an accident where you are at fault, the insurer’s obligation is to YOU (the policyholder) – they have no direct responsibility to the “victim” of the accident. Worth noting is that the same rules apply when YOU are the victim of an accident – if someone else was at fault and damages your vehicle and/or injures you, the other person’s insurance company has no direct obligation to you.

Collision coverage is additional coverage and must be purchased separately. This coverage is typically mandatory if there is a loan on the vehicle or if it is a lease. Collision coverage (sometimes referred to as “full coverage” because it often includes comprehensive coverage for fire, theft, glass, etc.) covers damage to your automobile. If you have this coverage, your insurance company is directly responsible to you and must either replace, repair, or pay for damages to your covered vehicle.

 THIRD-PARTY PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIMS (when you are the victim of an accident)

Some aspects of a third party claim:

  • You were not at fault.
  • There is no deductible.
  • You are typically entitled to a rental car or loss-of-use compensation.
  • The other person’s insurance company is NOT directly responsible to you.
  • The insurance company technically owes $0
  • The insurer has no right to control the claim or repairs.
  • You are entitled to compensation for diminished value.
  • Third-party claims are governed by tort law.

The basic concept of a tort is that the negligence of one individual has led to loss or damages to another. It is a general rule that the law of torts attempts primarily to restore the injured party to as good a position as he held prior to the tort.

Since the insurance company most likely wasn’t driving the vehicle that caused the damage, the insurance company is NOT directly responsible to you – their duty is to their insured, as discussed above. Because they know they are not directly responsible, sometimes the insurer will attempt to take liberties to which they are not entitled. Knowing what your legal rights are is imperative to making sure you don’t get taken advantage of.

FIRST-PARTY PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIMS (coverage afforded by YOUR contact of insurance)

Some aspects of a first-party claim:

  • You were at fault, hit by an uninsured motorist, it is a comprehensive claim,
    or you wish to assert the rights afforded you by the contract of insurance
  • Your deductible may apply.
  • Depending on additional riders, you may not be entitled to a rental
  • The insurance company is directly responsible to you.
  • The insurance company owes $$$
  • With a few exceptions, you are usually not entitled to diminished value compensation.
  • First-party claims are governed by insurance regulations and contract laws.

Because of the power of the (legally binding) contract, it is our position that consumers should ALWAYS file a claim with their insurer whenever coverage is available for property damage.

Some consumers might question the logic of using their own coverage when they are not at fault. Questions like “Why should I have to pay my deductible if I wasn’t at fault?” “Will my insurance go up?” “How do I get a rental car if I don’t have coverage on my policy?,” “I can’t collect for the loss of value if I use my coverage, can I?” and more make filing a claim with your own insurance company seem like the wrong decision. But, rest assured, we know what we’re saying – we’ve been doing this for well over a decade, and we fully understand the claim process as well as the laws surrounding property damage claims.

If you were not at fault, it is often possible to get the other person’s insurance to pay for the rental even if you file to have the repairs done under your own coverage – and if the accident was verifiably someone else’s fault, you would get your deductible back. Having your damaged automobile repaired under your coverage doesn’t prevent you from presenting a claim for diminishment to the adverse carrier. Worth noting is that it is illegal in most states for an insurer to raise your rates if you were not at fault, and the negligent party is known.

As with third party claims regarding property damage, knowing your legal rights is imperative to ensure you get everything you are entitled to. CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE, NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION AT (877) 572-4143. IF YOU HAVE A PROPERTY DAMAGE QUESTION – ASK DAVE & MIKE at Wattel & York.com. Visit us on Facebook or Instagram for more information. If you have questions regarding Diminished Value call 877-572-4143.

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“Amazing people, they had my claim for about a week before they were able to get my truck totaled out. Otherwise I would have been stuck with a truck that had heavy front end damage if they hadn’t stepped in to help me. I tried to deal with my insurance company myself for over a month and that got me nowhere, all I got was a massive headache and a messed up truck. They are very professional and act quickly on your claim. I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for help.”

Candy J.


“I was in an accident and decided to call Wattel and York. After months of going to a Chiropractor, I finally felt better. When it came time for settlement, the insurance company was making an offer I wanted to accept, Mr. Wattel advised against it and felt the insurance company was shortchanging me. He recommended I file a lawsuit and that will get them to cave. Well, Dave filed suit, and sure enough, the insurance company increased their offer by $4,000! I am very satisfied with how my case was handled.”

Nardeasha S.


“Wattel & York were flat out outstanding with my personal injury case. They made the process painless and kept in constant communication throughout the entire time. Any questions I might’ve had were promptly answered and detail oriented. They gave me crucial advice that I would’ve otherwise not been aware of. I couldn’t have asked for more from them. Put your trust in these guys, you won’t be disappointed. Thanks Wattel & York.”

Mattew P.


“Thank you so much for all your hard work on our behalf! Thinking I could handle it on my own, I was originally reluctant to take my accident claim to an attorney. But I am SO glad I called you instead. Your people were always helpful, pleasant and responsive at every step along the way. You represented us with honesty and integrity and made a traumatic experience as painless as it could be. And best of all, you helped us get a settlement that was fair and far more than I could ever have negotiated on my own! I highly recommend Wattel &York to anyone who has suffered a personal injury.”

Cathy M.

“I was the passenger in a vehicle that was 'T- Boned' at an intersection in 2014. The issues of responsibility and recovery became a difficult and convoluted confusion. I really needed help. This Team at Wattel and York walked me patiently and encouragingly through difficult months, sorting through issues and finally arriving at a satisfactory conclusion. I especially want to name two great and encouraging "warriors" of Wattel and York who directed me along the way..Brian Torba and Melissa Patterson..to them and the whole team I say "Thank You" with heart felt gratitude. Sincerely, God Bless You.”

Robert G.

“Honesty. Integrity. Transparency. Partnership. Wattel & York brought all of these qualities and more to my accident case. I'd love to thank all of the team members who helped me with the process: David Guzman, who conducted the initial interview in my home, Aly Shomar-Esparza, who seamlessly guided me through paperwork and filings, Debbie Harrach, who conducted final review, paperwork revisions and scheduling, and Thomas Grisoni, who counseled me before and attended my deposition. I never felt alone during the arduous process and always knew there was a professional team looking out for my best interest. I highly recommend Wattel & York if you are unfortunately involved in an accident that was not your fault.”

Russ W.

“I was a passenger in a car that got t-boned a few years ago and got a huge gash. I didn't know a lot about lawyers, so I basically just picked one on the flip of a coin. I called Wattel and York and they explained everything, I went into the office and filled out paperwork. Got treatment on my gash over the time I worked with them, glad I did as it opened back up a couple times and bled. They did really good, got me the maximum amount of money, and made sure I was well taken care of. I was updated from time to time so that was good. The only thing I might change is I never got to thank or talk to my lawyer. I think it was because I was already used to dealing with the lady at their Glendale office so they just kept her as my point of contact. So it's okay, I'll thank them with a good review. The last thing I could say about them is months after I thought my case was over they called me and said they had another check for me for a few hundred dollars. Apparently, they negotiated with the hospital I went to after the accident. It was a nice surprise and shows they really had my interests in mind.”

Trent B.

“Wattel & York has been great for me in the past few years. I was involved in a really bad accident while I was on Active Duty in Yuma, Arizona and they have been patient with me every step of the way through a very long process. I would recommend them to anyone thank you for all your help.”

Levy G.

“Appreciate David taking the time to speak with me. He was most kind. From the front line with the receptionist, to him, the firm was a class act all the way around.”

Claire B.

“Dave Wattel represented me and my son on a Personal Injury case from a motor vehicle accident back in 2009. Jake P. handled my deposition and Dave did the Quarterbacking. The insurance company hired NFL referee Ed Hochuli's firm to try and deny our claim. But Wattel & York made it look as easy as Tom Brady on the football field. The result was more than acceptable and my son and I were compensated for our injuries and rehabilitation. Dave Wattel cares about his clients. If I ever find myself in a situation like this again, Wattel & York will be on speed dial!!”

Vince C.

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