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GET MORE MONEY: 3 Things You Need to Know about Nationwide Claim Process

Warshafsky Law Attorneys Help Auto Accident Victims Secure Larger Claim Settlements from Nationwide Insurance

This Guide Can Help You Secure a Bigger Settlement Check From Nationwide

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is a national conglomerate of insurance and financial services companies. The company is ranked 68th on the most recent (2017) Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies. You’ve probably heard their jingle “Nationwide is on your side.” But are they?

You only find out how good your insurance company really is when you have a claim. Nationwide is no different than any other large insurance company. Their primary objective is to make money. Unfortunately for policyholders, this often results in less than satisfactory service. Like any insurance company, they may resort to tactics that range from annoying to aggressive.

If you’re involved in a Nationwide Insurance injury claim after an auto accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your right to fair compensation.

The Milwaukee car accident attorneys of Warshafsky Law have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies to secure the highest possible settlement for your car accident injury. Having attorneys who have worked for insurance companies in the past gives us inside knowledge of how insurance companies operate, so we’re well equipped to deal with their tactics.

 INJURED? It IS About The Money.®

Warshafsky Law Firm - Milwaukeehen people choose their personal injury lawyer based on the endorsement of a football player or actor, they risk choosing an attorney who has never won more money in a courtroom. Settlement mills forward your paperwork and take a cut of your damages.

Hundreds of times we have prepared cases like yours beyond the brink of trial. Facing unlimited liability AND an expensive jury trial, insurance companies fess up what your case is worth. They HATE when you choose Warshafsky. Insurance companies know: it IS about the money.

A Definitive Guide to Nationwide Insurance Claims

1. Dealing with Nationwide during the Insurance Claims Process

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Speak with our experienced personal injury attorneys before speaking with the insurance adjuster.

Nationwide Insurance offers the option of starting a claim online or by calling their Claims Service department. If you opt to call them, a claims rep will ask you about the accident and explain the coverages in your policy. After your claim has been filed, you’ll need to choose an auto repair shop, either from within Nationwide’s network of repair centers or from outside their network. They’d prefer you choose one within their network, ostensibly because these shops have been “pre-screened by Nationwide.”

Insurance adjusters know you just want to get your life back on track, so they’ll be very empathetic and assure you they want to “get this taken care of for you ASAP.” As with most insurance companies, they know the sooner they can get a check in your hands the more likely you are to accept the puny settlement offer they make.

It probably sounds like insurance company reps are out to screw you, but their job is to save the company as much money as possible.  It’s easy to lose sight of this when you’ve been in a serious auto accident and someone is sounding like a guardian angel who’s only interested in settling up quickly for YOUR benefit.

How Insurers Gather Information

Early in the claims process with Nationwide, an insurance adjuster will interview everyone involved in the accident. The adjuster will gather as much information as possible from:

  • the police report
  • passenger and witness statements
  • photos and measurements from the scene
  • researching repair estimates
  • anything you say

During this process, you may be asked to sign medical authorization forms granting your insurance company access to your medical records. We strongly advise against doing so without first consulting a lawyer. These authorization forms are usually written to allow the insurance company full access to your detailed medical history. Once in, they look for any previous medical issue they can use to dispute your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you on which medical records must be provided to the insurance company and when/if it’s appropriate to share them.

No matter how friendly the insurance rep seems on the phone, experience has shown that insurance companies will do just about anything to get information they can use to minimize or completely deny your claim. They may even put you under surveillance. Remember: their allegiance is to their employer and the almighty dollar, and the goal is to pay as little as possible on your claim.

How to Handle Speaking to an Insurance Adjuster

The best way to avoid being taken advantage of by an insurance adjuster is to do consult a personal injury lawyer experienced in dealing with insurance companies. before you talk to the adjuster. If you get a call from an adjuster shortly after the accident—and before you’ve had a chance to talk to an attorney—ask for their contact information and let them know you’ll call when you’re ready. Be polite, but firm, and remember that you’re under no obligation to make a statement to them on their timetable.

To avoid any possible misstatement to an adjuster, you can refer the adjuster to your attorney. If you do talk with an adjuster yourself, be careful to never admit to being responsible in any way for the accident. They will pounce on the slightest admission of liability or fault and use it to minimize your claim or deny it altogether.

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2. Making a Nationwide Injury Claim without a Lawyer

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Before you contact your insurer about an injury claim, bear in mind that any time you speak on the phone with your insurance company there’s a good chance the call is being recorded. It’s easy to inadvertently say something the insurance company can use against you—even a small inconsistency in your statement or an inadvertent omission will do.

It can be intimidating to deal with an insurance company, especially if you’ve been offered an unacceptably low settlement and are trying to negotiate with them. You need to have documentation supporting the value of your claim, and you need to be firm, but polite. You have ONE chance to recover the losses you’ve incurred, so prepare yourself well and be cautious with what you say.

It never hurts to show good faith as well as good manners, and it’s likely the insurance rep will be very personable and easy to talk to. But don’t be taken in—a friendly demeanor doesn’t mean they’re your friend. They’re paid to put you at ease, and if they can use charm to get you to take a lowball offer, they will. Trust us, they haven’t taken their eyes off the bottom line for one second.

Be Aware of Common Insurance Company Practices

The claims process has many pitfalls for an inexperienced claimant, so it’s wise to get informed about the process and be cautious. After an accident, you get ONE chance to recover the damages you need to put your life back together. One misstep or one misspoken word is all an insurance company needs to dispute or deny your claim—and don’t think they won’t use it.

Remember: an insurance representative will ALWAYS serve the company’s best interests. Warshafsky’s experienced personal injury lawyers serve YOUR best interests.

Things you need to know about the claims process:

  1. An insurance adjuster doesn’t decide how much you’re entitled to; they decide how much they’re going to offer you. A settlement check isn’t a definitive statement of value, it’s just an offer—and it can be negotiated. The insurance company may say, “After a thorough investigation, we’ve determined the value of your claim,” to make you think it’s an official statement of value. Don’t fall for this. Even a check they send you for your damages is just an offer, and once you sign it you can NEVER pursue further compensation.
  2. Realize that everything an insurance company rep does is calculated. If you contest the settlement offered to you, don’t be surprised if the rep responds by saying they need to consider it and will get back to you. Delaying a decision is one of many delay tactics insurance companies use in the hopes that frustration and financial hardship will pressure you to settle for less.
  3. Put it in writing. After speaking with your insurance company, write a letter or send an e-mail to the rep to document the statements and promises made by the representative. You may need this in the future if they dispute the accuracy or timeliness of your submissions).
  4. You’re up against a powerful chain of command. The insurance adjuster you first speak to may well have instructions preventing them from offering you more than a certain amount. If you ask to speak to a supervisor, there’s likely a unit manager above him/her, who has a claims manager, who has a regional manager, and so on. And they all have strategies to limit or deny your claim.  Your chances of getting a fair settlement are much higher when you’re represented by an experienced team of aggressive personal injury lawyers.

Claims adjusters’ tactics range from the annoying, such as losing your paperwork, to the serious, such as using impossibly obscure and confusing terminology as a reason to deny your claim (after Hurricane Katrina, many homeowners who had purchased hurricane insurance suddenly found themselves denied coverage because of an incomprehensible “anti-concurrent” clause). Some adjusters will even try to scare you by threatening legal problems if you talk to a lawyer (the irony being the insurance company has dozens of lawyers working on their side).

Be Ready to Prove Fault, or Lack of Fault

If it’s obvious someone else was at fault for your injury, you have a better chance of success in handling your claim alone. But if it’s less than crystal clear the other party was responsible for your injury, or if any argument can be made showing you were partially at fault for the accident, expect the insurer to put up a fight. Determining liability is an extremely important factor in a personal injury claim, so you need to be prepared to counter allegations that you contributed to the accident by speeding or not paying attention.

6 Wisconsin Car Accident Laws with a HUGE Impact on Your Claim

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3. How to Increase Your Nationwide Settlement Offer

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Tempting as it may be, don’t cash a settlement check until you’ve consulted with an attorney!

Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is the surest and fastest way to get an insurance adjuster to reconsider their settlement offer. In some cases, though, you may be able to reason with an adjuster for a higher settlement. These tips may help:

1. Document every penny the accident has cost you.

Medical bills, receipts for prescriptions, mileage on your car for doctor trips, recent paystubs showing your income before and after the accident, and written repair estimates for your car will all help prove the cost of your damages. If you provide ample proof of the value of your claim, there is little for an insurance adjuster to object to.

2. Keep your cool.

Even if you tell the insurance adjuster the minimum amount you are willing to settle for, you will likely be offered less. In many cases, adjusters simply don’t have the authority to make a higher offer unless a lawsuit is filed. If you feel like you’re deadlocked, stay calm and ask to speak to their supervisor or a different claims adjuster.

3. Never settle for less.

No matter how frustrating and exhausting the negotiation process seems, don’t cave in and accept an inadequate settlement just to get it over with—especially if the settlement doesn’t even cover your outstanding bills.

4. Be aware of your timeline.

In some cases, an insurance company will delay the process to the point the statute of limitations on when you are able to file a lawsuit expires. You are then stuck with whatever they offer you because you’ve lost your biggest bargaining chip: taking legal action. In Wisconsin, the statute of limitations for filing suit against an insurance company is 3 years. Mark it on your calendar!

5. Consider hiring an attorney.

Having an attorney handling your claim takes the burden of negotiating with the insurance company off your shoulders. Personal injury attorneys are professional negotiators who can help you secure a much larger settlement than what you would likely get on your own.

At the very least, take advantage of a free consultation with a personal injury attorney to get an idea if the amount you’re seeking is in the right range. Warshafsky Law offers a free initial legal consultation to anyone considering hiring an attorney to represent their injury claim to an insurance company.

INJURED? It IS About The Money.® Get MORE MONEY for Your Claim. Bring in the BIG DOGS

Knowing What Your Claim Is Worth

Damages such as repair costs and medical bills are self-evident, but calculating lost wages and lost earning potential gets problematic if you’re self-employed or between jobs, or if you need to determine future earning capacity. You may also be able to claim damages for pain and suffering, which defy exact calculation.

If you’ve had significant injuries and your medical treatment is ongoing, this can also make it hard to come up with a value for your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney who’s seen many insurance settlements can help with this. In the case of Warshafsky Law, our reputation for winning in court is also a highly effective motivator for insurance companies to increase their settlement offers.

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Warshafsky Personal Injury Attorneys Get More for Your Nationwide Claim

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The attorney you choose to represent you may well be the most important factor in the settlement amount you end up with. While many personal injury law firms “play ball” with insurance companies by “signing and settling” cases quickly and collecting their fee, Warshafsky Law doesn’t play that game. Instead, we prepare every case for trial. Insurance companies suddenly become more generous in their settlement offers when there’s the possibility of losing big in court.

With Warshafsky Law in your corner, you will get maximum compensation for all recoverable damages. How will you pay our legal fees when you’ve got hospital bills piling up? You won’t. We’ll take your case and ask for no payment until you have been compensated. Additionally, our no-win, no-fee policy ensures that if we don’t win your case you don’t owe us a thing.

INJURED? It IS About The Money.®

Contact our personal injury law firm for a free case appraisal on no-win-no-fee legal representation.