Nationwide: Auto Accident Claims and Settlements
Nationwide has grown from a small auto insurer owned by its own policyholders to one of the largest car insurance and financial services companies in the United States. Nationwide has more than $135 billion in assets. In recent years, Nationwide has been on the cusp of being a Fortune 100 company. In Maryland, Nationwide ranks fourth in market share behind GEICO, State Farm, and Allstate. Suffice to say, our lawyers frequently cross paths with Nationwide and have had a lot of experience dealing with both their adjusters and their attorneys.
How Nationwide Handles Settlement Claims?
Of the leading insurance companies in Maryland, Nationwide may be the most difficult to predict in terms of how an individual Nationwide claims adjuster values a case. GEICO and Allstate, for example, are far easier to predict than Nationwide. There is less rhyme or reason to the value a Nationwide claims adjuster puts on the case. There is no reason to know why this is the case but our lawyers think it may be because their claims adjusters have more authority than many of their counterparts at other insurance companies. Accordingly, we think Nationwide may place more value on the quality of the Plaintiff’s counsel than some other insurance companies do because their claims adjusters probably do a little better job of evaluating the entire claim as opposed to just punching the information into the computer to see what spits out. The downside of this independence, in our opinion: Nationwide adjusters are among the slowest to return calls.
Maximizing the Value of Nationwide Claims
The settlement offer Nationwide will give in a Maryland case almost invariably increases after a lawsuit is filed. Another Maryland lawyer once referred an auto accident case to us where the offer went from $10,000 to $275,000 after a lawsuit was filed (although shortly before trial, not immediately after the lawsuit was filed). There are a number of reasons our accident lawyers believe this occurs. Nationwide Insurance’s in-house lawyers – with exceptions - tend to be more reasonable than their claims adjusters. Why? Having to be the one trying the case to a jury makes you more realistic about the value. This is invariably true even among lawyers in the same office. Moreover, settlement offers before a lawsuit is filed are a gut check to the accident victim. Nationwide knows that some accident victims are never going to file a lawsuit regardless of the offer because they either want their money immediately or because they do not have the personality to withstand the perceived scrutiny that comes with discovery and a trial.
Another important reason why lawsuits matter is that, more than other insurance companies, Nationwide Insurance is particularly sensitive to verdicts in accident cases that exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits. They arae loath to expose their insured to a verdict that is going to give them personal exposure. All insurance companies have this concern; we think Nationwide is – for whatever reason – more concerned than most others about the potential of a bad faith claim for their refusal to act reasonably and settle the case within the policy limits.
Who Your Lawyer Is Matters to the Value of Your Nationwide Claim
Nationwide is going to value cases based in part on their understanding of the skills and experience of the accident lawyers who represent you. You may be asking: I want to settle my claim with Nationwide so why do I need a lawyer with a track record of trying accident claims? Like other insurance companies, Nationwide keeps track of accident lawyers' trial records and willingness to file lawsuits. If your counsel is not respected and just settles all of his or her cases, any adjuster for in Maryland is going to know this and it is going to be reflected in the offer to settle your claim.
Sample Verdicts and Settlements with Nationwide
- 2013: $100,000 Settlement. Elderly woman struck from the rear at high speed by an off-duty Annapolis police offer on Rt. 50 while she was waiting in line for the bride. Liability accepted, liability limitis offered early. Client had a serious pre-existing brain disorder called an I-Chiari malformation. As a result of the accident her I-Chiari was worsened to the point where it required fusion/corrective surgery. Her treating neurosurgeon, a noted expert in the disorder, opined in writing that the collision had caused an exacerbation of the client’s pre-existing condition and has caused the need for surgery. There was a 100k UIM backing up the liability policy, and the client had both medicare and health insurance lien issues. We put the case into litigation very quickly because she contacted us shortly before the SOL. We negotiated the medicare and health liens to get her the maximum recovery and settled the case for the policy limits. There was no offer before Miller & Zois became involved in the case.
- 2012: $115,763 and $42,778 Maryland Verdicts. Defendant pulls around a stopped metro bus, striking Plaintiffs as they crossed the bus. Plaintiffs, a 14 year old girl and a 12 year old girl, were exiting the bus. Plaintiffs file suit alleging that the Defendant was negligent in failing to yield and to maintain a proper lookout. Defendant contends that Plaintiffs are responsible as the girls darted out from behind the bus and ran directly into her path, creating an unavoidable accident. One girl sustains a fractured clavicle and injuries to her arm, claiming $15,763 in past medical expenses. An Annapolis jury awards $115,763 in damages. The second girl sustains a mild closed head injury and soft tissue injury to her knee, and claims $2,778 in past medical expenses. The jury awards $42,778 in damages.
- 2012 $64,221 Maryland Verdict – Defendant loses control of his vehicle and strikes a tree, injuring his passenger in the process. Both are extricated from the vehicle and taken to a trauma center for treatment. A year later, the passenger presents to her primary care physician with complaints of ongoing neck and back pain dating back to the accident. She is referred for physical therapy and eventually makes a complete recovery. Plaintiff, a 22 year old daycare worker, files suit claiming approximately $15,000 in past medical expenses and $108 in lost wages. Defendant concedes liability, but disputes the severity and proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injuries, and argues that the injuries sustained should have resolved spontaneously in the months after the accident. Plaintiff is awarded $64,221 in damages.
Who Defends Lawsuits Against Nationwide?
Most lawsuits involving drivers insured by Nationwide are defended by the Law Offices of Andrew Greenspan which now covers all of Maryland. This law firm is actually what we call an “in-house” firm; the lawyers are all employees of Nationwide Insurance. If Nationwide assigns lawyers other than their in-house lawyers, this is because they are concerned that the case may exceed Nationwide’s policy limits. Mr. Greenspan is a well respected lawyer, as are most of the lawyers that work for him.
Our Lawyers Can Help You with Your Accident Claim Against Nationwide
Our firm has handled hundreds of auto accident claims involving Nationwide Insurance and has defeated them at trial many times. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, call us at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free consultation.
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