Motor Vehicle Collisions

Truck

Accidents involving trucks, especially large transporter or delivery trucks, often result in debilitating injuries. Your vehicle may have sustained irreparable damage and been deemed a total loss. In such cases, evidence of the magnitude of the impact can be lost if not appropriately documented immediately following the collision.

In addition, many such trucks are corporate owned, and representatives of the company or its insurer may aggressively try to obtain your release of liability, or written or oral statements that weaken your claim. Considering the more severe damages that often result from such accidents, it is critical that you obtain legal representation before your claim is compromised.

Rear-End

Rear-end collisions are very common, and often result in admitted liability. This means the defendant admits he/she caused the accident. This removes much of the onus of showing that you are entitled to compensation.

Unfortunately, this also results in some lawyers becoming lazy in representing their clients, and failing to collect all relevant evidence in the initial stages of your case that should be used to leverage the best possible settlement down the road.

No matter how black and white your case may seem, facts alone will not earn a settlement. Witness statements and contact information, reports, insurance coverage, state of relevant traffic laws, and technical data of property damage, injuries, and the accident scene must all be obtained quickly, maintained in detail, and disclosed at strategic stages of your claim.

The insurance company will sense a lawyer’s lackadaisical approach, and will reduce their offers accordingly. At Heaton & Associates, you will receive assertive representation from day one that will quickly command the insurer’s attention.

Side-Swipe

This type of accident is commonplace in parking lots and other private property. Generally, local law enforcement will not respond to reports of accidents on private property. Therefore, you cannot rely on a police officer to write a summary of the accident, record what the parties say, or document contact information, insurance information, road conditions, apparent injuries, or the extent of property damage.

Because such accidents often occur at low speeds, obtaining as much of the above information as possible is important to preserving a strong claim. However, if such information does not exist or has been mishandled, your claim is at worst a “he said – she said” claim. No matter what the state of your claim, at Heaton & Associates we can bolster your credibility and find the pressure points that will motivate the insurance company to settle.

Parking Lot

Parking lot accidents can be side-swipe, t-bone, and rear-end collisions, among others. The viability of such claims is often influenced by the fact that local law enforcement generally will not respond to reports of accidents on private property. Therefore, you cannot rely on a police officer to write a summary of the accident, record what the parties say, or document contact information, insurance information, road conditions, apparent injuries, or the extent of property damage.

Because such accidents often occur at low speeds, obtaining as much of the above information as possible is important to preserving a strong claim. While there may be no police report, a report or comparable summary may have been prepared by a store or hotel near the lot. Additionally, it is worthwhile to visit these establishments after the fact in search of anyone who may have witnessed the collision.

However, if such information does not exist or has been mishandled, your claim is at worst a “he said – she said” claim. No matter what the state of your claim, at Heaton & Associates we can bolster your credibility and find the pressure points that will motivate the insurance company to settle.

Rollover

Rollover accidents sometimes involve issues of product liability. This is the case when a manufacturer defect causes tires to blow out, or when a design failure is responsible for the vehicle rolling over. Rollovers may also occur shortly after negligent work is performed by a mechanic. In that case, the mechanic may be responsible for all damages resulting from the accident.

It is crucial to preserve evidence that may help determine the exact cause of the rollover. Tires and other areas of the vehicle may need to be examined by an expert. Copies of all records from any recent repair or maintenance work will also be needed. At Heaton & Associates, we have relationships with experts and other professionals that can help build your claim against even the largest corporate entities.

Motorcycle

Many motorcycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries. Unfortunately, motorcyclists have a stigma of poor driving and are often unjustly blamed for these accidents. Firm legal representation is critical at an early stage to ensure an appropriate determination of fault.

Victims involved in even minor motorcycle accidents sometimes sustain injuries with long-lasting effects. For example, road rash may leave severe scarring that results in a psychological impact. It is vital that all injuries be addressed in your course of treatment, whether physical or emotional. Your compensation must reflect the permanent nature of your injuries, and account for any future treatment or counseling that you may require. At Heaton & Associates, every element of your damages will be discussed and attended to.

Tire blowouts are often the result of wear and tear. However, sometimes they occur with new tires that were properly installed, and burst simply due to a manufacturer’s defect. For purposes of a products liability claim, such a defect must be identified by an expert. If you were injured in a blowout accident, and you have reason to believe that the cause was a defect in the tire, call Heaton & Associates today. We can front all costs to retain an expert, and build a claim that will demand the attention of the manufacturer.

Pedestrians

In Las Vegas, pedestrian accidents are, unfortunately, all too common. Even worse is that drivers do not always stop after hitting a pedestrian, or leave the scene before law enforcement arrives. This is often due to the driver being intoxicated. Anything you can remember about the driver, passengers, direction of travel, approximate speed, or details about the vehicle will help the police to identify the culprit.

If the driver leaves the car before he/she is found by police, they may get out of a DUI citation, so you must report these details as soon as possible so the car can be stopped while still on the road. At Heaton & Associates, we can employ investigators to assist in finding hit and run drivers, and pursue a claim that will get you all the money you deserve.

Phantom Vehicle

A phantom vehicle accident is one in which one vehicle causes another vehicle to crash without the vehicles actually contacting each other. The most common example of a phantom vehicle accident is when someone is cut off and forced to veer out of the lane to avoid an accident, ultimately running off the road, or hitting a barricade, light pole, or another vehicle. In this case, because the at-fault party is unknown, compensation would only come from the victim’s own insurance company.

Generally, some sort of physical contact is required. This is the insurance company’s method of rooting out fraudulent claims. However, there remains some grey area around this rule. For example, if you were to hit a ladder that had suddenly fallen out of a truck and onto the highway, such a claim may be viable. The question of the validity of a phantom vehicle accident is very fact-intensive. At Heaton & Associates, we can tell you whether you have a claim, and work with your insurance company to get you all the money you deserve.

Drunk Driving

Unique to drunk driving accidents is that the intoxicated driver is exposed to punitive damages. This is an entirely separate category of compensation available to the victim. It is not based on the extent of the victim’s injuries or medical bills. Rather, it is simply meant to punish the offender.

The possibility of punitive damages not only helps increase the insurance company’s offer, but can help resolve the claim more quickly as well. At Heaton & Associates, we use all evidence of drunk driving to leverage the best offer to settle your claim.

Rental Cars

With Las Vegas offering so many attractions for tourists from all over the country, rental cars floods the streets. Rental car companies are required to have in effect at least a minimum policy of insurance on each car they rent out. It is important to verify this coverage for the car involved in the accident.

That being said, if the driver of a rental car has his/her own liability insurance, that policy is primary. Only after that policy is exhausted would the rental company’s policy come into play. At Heaton & Associates, we will build the strongest claim possible against the at-fault driver, and make a claim against the rental car company for any deficiency in their insurance coverage.

Business & Company Vehicles

An individual operating a vehicle while on the job is often covered by the employer’s liability insurance policy. These commercial policies typically have much higher limits than individual policies. When your injuries result in significant medical bills, having a commercial insurance policy available is a tremendous luxury.

Additional theories of recovery may also come into play due to the at-fault party being on the job at the time of the accident. Negligent hiring / supervision / retention are among those claims can apply additional pressure on the insurance company to settle the claim. At Heaton & Associates, we can help you maximize your claim against any business entity, and receive all the compensation you deserve.

Multi-Car

Because of the number of vehicles, people, and insurance policies involved, multi-car accident claims can be drawn out longer than the average car accident claim. This is particularly true when some claimants’ treatments drag on for several months, or when a workers compensation claim is involved.

Once all parties are able and willing to settle the claim, the simplest procedure is to get all parties to agree to a breakdown of the tortfeasor’s (at-fault party) insurance policy limits. Getting numerous parties to agree to this type of breakdown requires persuasive negotiation and tact. At Heaton & Associates, we can take the lead in bringing all relevant parties to the table, and resolving the claim in a manner that gets you the maximum compensation possible.

Uninsured Driver

If you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be protected by your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. This means that you would direct your claim to your own insurance company. Many people fear that doing so will cause their premiums to rise. This is not only false, but is against the law. Your insurance company cannot raise your rates for submitting a claim arising from an accident that was not your fault.

Further, if you insure multiple vehicles, it may be possible to “stack” their coverages, thereby raising the limit of compensation available under your policy. At Heaton & Associates, we can take the guesswork out of settling your insurance dispute, and get you all the money you deserve.

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