Recently I was involved in a motor vehicle accident that was the fault of a person insured by Nationwide. I suffered some relatively minor injuries. I called up Nationwide the same day to explain what happened and to seek compensation for the damage to my vehicle. I also notified the adjuster that I suffered injuries and I would be in touch when I finished whatever treatment I might need to get better. The adjuster surprised me with her response. She said that given the nature of the accident that they would only compensate me for a very limited pre-set amount of medical treatment for a limited span of time for treatment. She made it sound like it was just pre-established policy of the company not to pay more than a certain amount for these types of accidents so any treatment above that would not be compensated.
I was floored by these statements. As an attorney, I knew that everything she was telling me was wrong. I knew that regardless of her company policy, I was entitled to recover for whatever amount of medical treatment I needed to make my self whole again. I was entitled to seek treatment for whatever period of time to whatever extent needed in order to return to the condition my body was in immediately prior to the accident.
I knew that Nationwide, as the insurance carrier for the at fault driver, would have to pay for it. Not only would Nationwide have to compensate me for my medical treatment, it would also have to pay me additional damages for pain and suffering. I knew that if Nationwide decided not to make me whole again, I could sue its insured, and ask the judge or jury to require the insured to compensate me (which Nationwide would be on the hook for up to its policy limits).
I didn’t bother in this initial phone call to let the adjuster know that she was wrong–that I was an attorney and knew what Nationwide’s obligations were. I didn’t think the confrontation would resolve anything. I decided to just seek the treatment I needed, save my bills and medical records, and send her a demand letter for the full amount plus pain and suffering. I did exactly that and recovered everything I incurred in medical expense plus more for pain and suffering.
What frightens me about this situation though is that not everyone who gets into an accident knows their rights. The average person in my situation on the phone with the Nationwide adjuster might actually believe everything she said about the limitations of recovery for injuries. She offered me a mere $500 dollars on that initial phone call for a release of all injury claims. It wasn’t even clear that would come to me. She made it sound like that would be just for reimbursement of any incurred medical expenses. I recovered far more than that in the end and I got the treatment I needed.
In my opinion, what the adjuster told me on the phone that day was misleading and deceptive. I don’t want others to fall victim in this situation. If you are injured in an accident, know your rights, whether that’s by seeking out an attorney or on-line research or otherwise. Don’t let Nationwide or any other insurance company dictate the recovery you need due to the negligence of their insured. They are required to make you whole. Hold them to it.
Disclaimer: I am not your attorney. This is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please call an attorney.