If you were on your motorcycle, minding your own business, and a driver with Nationwide insurance crashed into you, you are going to need help. Nationwide insurance company is a humongous organization that has dedicated a huge number of employees to making sure they never – EVER – pay motorcycle victims more than the bare minimum. Sometimes this means they use tricky, underhanded tactics to low-ball motorcycle victims and pay them less than what they deserve.
In this article, we cover the following:
- How does Nationwide insurance evaluate motorcycle crashes?
- Why does Nationwide insurance want me to sign a medical authorization form? (And what are they going to do with it?)
- Why are motorcycle accidents more expensive for Nationwide insurance company?
- What tactics does Nationwide insurance company use to lowball their offers to motorcycle crash victims, and why should you never accept the first offer from Nationwide?
- What are the benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney after a motorcycle crash?
Number one take-away: If you were hit by a driver with Nationwide insurance, you should call a personal injury attorney before you talk with anybody else. Rider Justice and The O’Sullivan Law Firm offer free consultations and we have negotiated with Nationwide insurance on behalf of motorcycle crash victims many times. We always get what our clients are owed.
How does Nationwide insurance evaluate motorcycle crashes?
If you were in a motorcycle crash with a Nationwide driver, you need to understand your rights. Because the at-fault driver had Nationwide insurance, Nationwide owes you money, and they will do everything in their power to limit how much they pay you, starting with the way they evaluate your motorcycle crash.
Nationwide insurance typically follows a specific process to evaluate how much they owe a motorcycle rider after one of their drivers hits them. The assessment includes various factors such as damage to your motorcycle, injuries to the victim, types of injuries commonly sustained in motorcycle accidents, hospital bills, and the need for long-term care. Here’s an overview of how each of these aspects is typically evaluated:
- Damage to the Motorcycle: Nationwide insurance company will assess the extent of damage to your motorcycle. This evaluation may involve gathering information about the cost of repairs, replacement parts, and labor required to restore the motorcycle to its pre-accident condition. In some cases, if the damage is extensive and the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the motorcycle, Nationwide may deem it a total loss and compensate you based on the motorcycle’s market value.
As a Colorado personal injury attorney with over 25 years of experience, I have seen my share of motorcycle crashes and the damage to the bike is usually extensive. Also, so many riders customize their bikes! It’s important to get an attorney on your side who understands the biker world, respects the biker lifestyle, and has a bike he adores, too!
- Injuries to the Victim: When evaluating your motorcycle accident case, Nationwide insurance company will also consider the nature and severity of your injuries. This evaluation involves gathering medical records, reports from healthcare professionals, and possibly consulting with experts to assess the extent of the injuries. The insurance adjuster may review diagnostic tests, treatment plans, and medical opinions to understand the impact of the injuries on the victim’s physical and emotional well-being.
Be Careful! Do not trust a Nationwide insurance adjuster to consider your injuries as traumatic and significant as they truly are. The adjuster works for Nationwide, not for you. Only a seasoned personal injury attorney can cut through Nationwide’s tricks to make sure you receive the compensation you need to cover all of your medical bills.
- Types of Injuries Common after Motorcycle Accidents: Motorcycle accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. Any Nationwide adjuster has seen all of these injuries before and has a stable full of tactics to minimize the amount that Nationwide has to pay victims. They do this all day long and they get really good at it. But while Nationwide has all kinds of experience dealing with motorcycle crash victims, I’m guessing you personally don’t have a lot of experience healing from them or fighting with adjusters. I do.
Common motorcycle crash injuries may include (but aren’t limited to):
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries (such as sprains, strains, and contusions)
- Internal injuries
- Road rash and lacerations
- Psychological trauma
- Hospital Bills and Medical Expenses: Nationwide insurance company will review the motorcycle crash victim’s medical records and bills to determine the cost of immediate medical care, including ambulance transportation, emergency room visits, surgeries, diagnostic tests, medications, and rehabilitation.
Do not, under any circumstances, sign a document that gives the Nationwide insurance adjuster access to your medical records without consulting with a personal injury attorney. I will address this in more detail later in this article, but please understand that the document you sign might give Nationwide access to more than you want to or should share.
- Long-Term Care: If the injuries you sustained in the motorcycle accident require long-term care or result in permanent disabilities, Nationwide insurance company will evaluate the potential future costs associated with your care. This may involve considering expenses related to rehabilitation, assistive devices, home modifications, in-home care, and other necessary support services.
Never, ever trust Nationwide insurance to evaluate your long-term care correctly. They have zero motivation to make sure that your needs are met over the long haul. Instead, their sole motivation is to limit how much they pay you. If you are facing catastrophic injuries from a motorcycle crash, you need an experienced personal injury attorney who isn’t afraid to take Nationwide to court if they low-ball their offer to you.
Why does Nationwide insurance want me to sign a medical authorization form?
After a motorcycle crash, the at-fault driver’s insurance company, Nationwide, may request that you sign a medical authorization form for various reasons. The primary purpose is to obtain access to your medical records related to the accident. This allows them to evaluate your injuries, medical treatment, and any pre-existing conditions that may affect your claim. But beware: Nationwide would really like to get their hands on your entire life history of medical issues so that they can blame your injuries from the accident on past incidents.
Therefore, while signing a medical authorization form is a common practice in insurance claims, it is essential to understand the risks involved and be cautious. Here are some potential risks associated with signing such a form:
- Broad access to medical history: By signing a medical authorization form, you might unintentionally grant the insurance company access to your complete medical records, not just those related to the accident. This could include unrelated personal information or past conditions that may not be relevant to your claim. You do not want to give Nationwide insurance anything that is unrelated to your accident claim. Be sure to check with a Denver personal injury attorney before you sign anything.
- Use of information against your claim: Nationwide insurance company could potentially use information from your medical records to dispute the extent of your injuries or argue that your injuries are pre-existing, thus reducing the amount they need to compensate you. I have seen Nationwide use this tactic against victims of motorcycle crashes over and over and I know how to beat them at their own game.
- Sharing information with other parties: Depending on the wording of the authorization form, the insurance company might be able to share your medical information with third parties, such as their legal team or other insurance companies involved in the case. This is your private medical history! You should have a personal injury lawyer read any document that Nationwide wants you to sign. The legalese is purposely written to confuse and frustrate non-lawyers. I can help you.
- Loss of privacy: Granting access to your medical records may compromise your privacy, as sensitive personal information could be exposed to the insurance company or other parties involved in the claim. You probably wouldn’t want some of your best friends to know about some of the medical issues you’ve faced in your life. There is no way you want a bunch of Nationwide insurance adjusters combing through your medical history! All they need is medical information related to the accident that their driver caused. Make sure to hire an attorney before you sign anything.
To protect yourself, hire a personal injury attorney to review the medical authorization form carefully before signing it.
Remember, it is your right to protect your privacy and control the information you provide. Taking precautions and seeking legal guidance can help safeguard your interests throughout the insurance claim process.
Call (303) 865-3934 for a free consultation about your rights and what you’re owed.
Why are motorcycle accidents more expensive for Nationwide insurance company?
Motorcycle crashes can be more expensive for Nationwide insurance company due to several factors:
- Severity of injuries: Motorcycles offer less protection to riders compared to cars. As a result, injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe, leading to higher medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and potential long-term care needs. These increased medical costs contribute to the higher expenses for insurance companies. Nationwide insurance adjusters will do everything in their power to limit how much they have to pay motorcycle crash victims, including some pretty tricky low-balling tactics. If you’ve been injured in a Colorado motorcycle crash by a Nationwide driver, you definitely need legal help.
- Increased risk of fatalities: Motorcyclists are more vulnerable in accidents, as they lack the protective structure of a car. Unfortunately, this means that motorcycle crashes have a higher fatality rate compared to other types of accidents. In cases of a fatal motorcycle accident caused by a Nationwide driver, Nationwide insurance may be liable for funeral expenses, death benefits, and potential legal settlements or judgments, which can significantly increase their costs. Their insurance adjusters are hoping that you and your loved ones have no idea how much they owe you so that you accept their first (undoubtedly low) offer. Always consult with a personal injury attorney before signing anything that Nationwide sends you.
- Property damage: Motorcycles are generally more susceptible to damage in accidents compared to cars. Even a minor collision can result in costly repairs or replacement of parts. Nationwide adjusters often have no clue how much a motorcycle is worth, especially if it’s been customized to any extent. Make sure you get a motorcycle-loving personal injury attorney to fight for your bike, too!
To limit the amount they pay to victims, Nationwide insurance adjusters typically employ various strategies, which may include:
- Policy limits: Insurance policies have limits on the amount of coverage provided for different types of claims, such as medical expenses, property damage, or liability. These limits cap the insurer’s financial responsibility, ensuring they do not have to pay unlimited amounts. However, if you are the victim of a motorcycle crash caused by a Nationwide driver, you may have more rights and resources than you can imagine. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can access all of the money you are owed by Nationwide insurance.
- Claims investigation: After a motorcycle crash, Nationwide insurance company will conduct a thorough investigation to determine liability and assess the extent of damages or injuries. They will definitely look for ways to blame the victim – the motorcycle rider – so that they can reduce the amount they own. Colorado’s law on comparative negligence is complicated. Make sure you hire a Colorado personal injury attorney if Nationwide is trying to pin the blame for an accident on you.
- Negotiation and settlements: Nationwide always tries to negotiate with motorcycle victims to reach a settlement. Usually, their first (and second and third) offers are way too low to cover all of a motorcycle crash victim’s immediate and long-term needs. Again: Never sign anything that Nationwide offers you without first seeking legal advice.
What tactics does Nationwide insurance company use to lowball their offers to motorcycle crash victims?
However, here are some common tactics that I have seen Nationwide insurance company use to undervalue their offers to motorcycle crash victims:
- Quick settlement offers: Nationwide may attempt to settle your claim swiftly, often before the full extent of your injuries and damages are known. By offering a quick settlement, Nationwide aims to resolve the case for a lower amount than you may be entitled to. The only way to truly know if you’re receiving a fair offer from Nationwide is to check with an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Downplaying injuries: Nationwide’s insurance adjusters may dispute the severity or impact of a motorcycle victim’s injuries, relying on the company’s own medical experts to challenge the extent of damages. As we discussed above, Nationwide may argue that the injuries are pre-existing or unrelated to the accident, seeking to minimize compensation. This tactic is so common as to be cliché. Make sure you hire an attorney to review any offer you receive from Nationwide.
- Comparative negligence: Insurance companies might try to shift some blame onto the victim, the motorcycle rider, arguing that they were partially at fault for the accident. This tactic aims to reduce the victim’s compensation proportionally based on the assigned percentage of fault. And, since motorcyclists are stereotyped as reckless by just about everyone in the justice system, you may be fighting a very steep battle. Level the playing field by hiring a personal injury attorney who isn’t afraid to take your case all the way to court.
- Undervaluing property damage: Nationwide’s adjusters may undervalue the cost of motorcycle repairs or argue for cheaper alternatives. They might also use depreciation and wear-and-tear arguments to offer less than the actual value of the damaged to your bike. I know that bikers love their motorcycles like a family member! I would never let Nationwide get away with anything less than the full amount to replace your amazing bike.
- Offering low initial settlements: The first offer from Nationwide insurance company is often lower than what the motorcycle crash victim may be entitled to. This initial offer is typically a starting point for negotiation, and accepting it too quickly may result in inadequate compensation for the victim’s losses. Hire a Denver personal injury attorney to make sure you don’t sign anything less than a full settlement.
While we’re at it, let’s discuss why it’s crucial for motorcycle crash victims never to accept the first offer from Nationwide insurance company:
- Unknown long-term effects: Motorcycle accidents can result in hidden or long-term injuries that may not be immediately apparent. Accepting an early settlement could prevent victims from receiving compensation for future medical expenses and ongoing treatment.
- Full assessment of damages: Motorcycle crash victims need sufficient time to assess the complete extent of their injuries, property damage, and other losses. Rushing into a settlement can prevent a thorough evaluation, potentially leaving victims uncompensated for certain damages. Often, an experienced personal injury attorney will have experience helping victims through the exact injuries you’re facing, and can help you anticipate the costs ahead.
- Negotiation leverage: By rejecting Nationwide’s initial offer, victims can retain negotiation leverage and demonstrate their willingness to pursue fair compensation. This can encourage Nationwide insurance company to reconsider and potentially improve their subsequent offers.
What are the benefits of hiring a local personal injury attorney after a motorcycle crash in Colorado?
Hiring a personal injury attorney after being involved in a motorcycle crash with a Nationwide driver can offer numerous benefits. Here are some key advantages:
- Legal Expertise: Personal injury attorneys specialize in handling cases related to accidents and injuries, including motorcycle crashes. They possess a deep understanding of personal injury laws, insurance policies, and legal procedures. This expertise enables them to navigate the complex legal system on your behalf. But make sure you shop around before hiring an attorney. Just like a doctor, your attorney needs to be someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
- Evaluation of Claims: A skilled attorney can assess the strength of your case and help determine the potential value of your claim. They consider various factors such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and future damages to ensure you pursue fair compensation. If you hire an attorney who just wants to churn through as many cases as possible, you likely won’t get the compensation you deserve. Hire an attorney who takes their time to know YOU and your unique case.
- Gathering Evidence: Personal injury attorneys are experienced in collecting and preserving evidence relevant to your case. They investigate the accident scene, interview witnesses, review police reports, obtain medical records, and gather any other necessary evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Dealing with Nationwide insurance company can be challenging, especially when they try to minimize your claim or deny it altogether. A Colorado motorcycle attorney can handle all communication with Nationwide’s insurance adjusters and negotiate on your behalf. Their knowledge and negotiation skills can help you receive a fair settlement.
- Litigation Representation: If your case against Nationwide goes to trial, you need to make sure you’ve hired a personal injury attorney who is willing (and excited!) to represent you in court. This means that your attorney needs to work the case from the very beginning as though it will go to court, collecting and organizing all the facts for the long-term goal of getting you the best settlement possible. Having a skilled attorney by your side increases your chances of a successful outcome in court.
- Contingency Basis: Personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they secure compensation for you. This arrangement eliminates upfront costs and financial risks for you. The attorney’s fee is usually a percentage of the settlement or court-awarded compensation, allowing you to focus on your recovery without worrying about legal expenses.
- Maximizing Compensation: With their knowledge and experience, personal injury attorneys know how to assess the full extent of your damages. They can maximize the compensation you receive by considering both economic and non-economic damages, ensuring you are adequately compensated for your injuries and losses. A really good attorney understands that there may be multiple resources for your compensation, including your own insurance policies!
- Peace of Mind: Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle crash can be physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming. By hiring a trustworthy, caring personal injury attorney, you can offload the legal complexities onto a professional, giving you peace of mind to focus on your recovery and well-being.
Rider Justice has seen every trick in Nationwide’s playbook and we know how to protect victims of motorcycle crashes from Nationwide’s underhanded tactics. Contact Rider Justice and Scott O’Sullivan for a free consultation if you are hit by a driver with Progressive insurance.