If Nationwide Insurance covers one of the vehicles involved in your accident, your path to financial compensation might start with filing a claim with this carrier. An attorney could provide you with further guidance on filing Nationwide Insurance accident claims in Pittsburgh.
Car Insurance in Pennsylvania
First, you will need to understand how Pennsylvania’s insurance laws will affect your claim. Per 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 1705, motorists in this state have the option of choosing between full tort and limited tort coverage.
First Party (PIP) Coverage
Regardless of what other insurance offerings you may chose for your policy, by law your policy will provide a minimum of $5,000 of medical expense coverage which will be the first source of payment of your crash related medical bills. If you have purchased more than the minimum coverage, your insurer will pay your bills until you exhaust the coverage that you purchased.
In addition, you may have also elected wage loss coverage. If you did so, your own carrier will initially pay your wage loss according to the terms of your coverage.
Because your carrier will pay these basic coverages regardless of who is at fault, Pennsylvania is considered a modified no-fault coverage since any additional claims will require proof of fault.
Limited Tort Coverage
With limited tort coverage, once you exhaust your medical coverage and income loss coverage, you are entitled to claim these items from the at-fault driver’s coverage regardless of whether you have limited tort or full tort coverage.
Unfortunately, if you chose limited tort coverage, you will not be able to recover additional non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, inconvenience and loss of life’s pleasures unless you can prove that your injuries constitute “serious injuries” – meaning death, impairment of a bodily function or serious disfigurement or if one of several exceptions to the limited tort restrictions apply.
Full Tort Coverage
With full tort coverage, you retain the right to sue other drivers or pursue their insurance company for all of your damages, including pain and suffering.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
Different Circumstances Lead to Different Claims Options
The way you file a claim with Nationwide Insurance will depend largely on your relationship with the company. Filing a claim with Nationwide when they are acting as your insurer is different than pursuing a third-party liability claim against the company. Occasionally we see cases where Nationwide wears both hats because Nationwide has insured both drivers.
Filing a Claim with Your Own Carrier
If you are seeking your first party medical benefits or wage loss and Nationwide is your insurer, filing a claim on your policy is simple. Like most insurance companies, Nationwide allows online claim filing, or you can file over the phone. Nationwide may demand additional documentation.
If you were hit by a hit and run driver, an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, you will also want to file a claim for those benefits with your own carrier. These claims are a little more complex and we suggest you contact an experienced personal injury attorney. You should be aware that in the case of a hit and run driver, Nationwide must be notified promptly under the terms of your policy.
Seeking Liability Benefits Through Another Driver’s Policy
If you were seriously injured, have the benefit of a limited tort exception, or you have elected full tort coverage and your insurance coverage is not enough to pay your bills, or if you have full tort coverage, you might choose to pursue a claim on the other driver’s Nationwide Insurance policy.
There are different ways to approach a claim against Nationwide. You have the right to call them directly and request they open a third-party insurance claim, but it is best not to speak with an adjuster on your own. Instead, you may want to allow your attorney to pursue a claim on your behalf.
It is also worth noting that Nationwide Insurance could open a claim on its own following your accident. If the other driver informs their carrier of the collision, the claims process could begin before you ever contact the insurance company. If this happens and a Nationwide adjuster contacts them, you are entitled to take their contact information and decline to discuss the claim until after you have time to find an attorney. If you contact Berger and Green, we can promptly tell you whether or not we can help you with your case
When to Pursue a Liability Settlement from Nationwide
There are important steps to take before you can obtain a settlement from the insurance company. Your settlement negotiations should not conclude until after you have received medical treatment.
Once your doctor determines what the long-term consequences of the accident are in regard to your health and well-being, your attorney will be able to identify the value of your claim. Settling your case too soon could result in financial compensation that does not provide for your long-term needs.
How Your Attorney Can Help
When your attorney is ready to initiate settlement talks, they will send the insurance company something known as a demand letter. The demand letter lays out your case for negligence against the other driver. It also requests a set amount of compensation you are willing to accept in exchange for dropping your injury claim.
The insurance company will typically respond by rejecting your request and countering with a lower number. Your attorney will rely on their experience to negotiate with the insurance company until a fair settlement is reached. If Nationwide refuses to make a fair offer, we are prepared to take your case to trial.
Important Considerations When Dealing with Nationwide Insurance
When dealing with a Nationwide Insurance adjuster directly, they will probably express concern over your injuries and seem friendly. However, insurance adjusters are not your friend. Nationwide employs them, and their job is to limit the amount of compensation they provide you for your injuries.
With that in mind, you should limit what you say during discussions with Nationwide adjusters. In fact, avoiding direct contact with them could prevent an adjuster from taking your words out of context or tricking you into admitting fault for the accident, and therefore harming your claim.
One of the worst things unrepresented people sometimes do is tell Nationwide an amount they want to settle their claim before knowing the full extent of their injury. Nationwide will then flag your case for a lowball offer even if you turn out to be hurt worse than you thought. Another bad thing some unrepresented people do is agree to a settlement early on and sign a release. If that happens, it may be impossible to recover more later.
Your attorney could serve as your advocate and speak to the insurance company on your behalf and avoid the pitfalls that unrepresented people may fall into.
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Call Us Today About Pursuing Compensation After an Accident
If you have been involved in an accident in Pittsburgh, it could be necessary for you to file a Nationwide Insurance accident claim. Whether you are filing a claim on your own policy or that of the other driver, understanding how the process works could be invaluable to you.
Insurance claims can be tricky. Thankfully, you have the right to legal counsel that can guide you through every step of the claims process. To learn how a car accident lawyer from Berger and Green could help, call (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation as soon as possible.