Handling a Nationwide Car Accident Claim
Nationwide is an auto insurance provider based in Columbus, Ohio. You have probably heard their slogan. Their advertisements usually conclude by saying that, “Nationwide is on your side.”
This sounds nice, but it is not always true. No insurance provider actually takes the side of a claimant following an accident. The goal of insurance companies is to pay as little as possible for each claim that is filed. The less money that a provider pays, the higher their profit margin will be.
Even well-branded providers like Nationwide are ultimately working hard to make as much money as possible. Nationwide, like every other insurance company, is focused on its bottom line.
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The Stress of a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident is incredibly stressful. Even a minor fender-bender can leave you feeling shaken, confused, and scared. Collisions are also nerve-wracking because of the property damage to your vehicle.
If an accident is severe, you may require medical attention. Accident injuries are even more traumatic than a minor crash.
Another possible stressor comes from determining fault. In some cases, it is obvious who bears the responsibility for a crash. However, sometimes fault is unclear. You may believe that another driver is at fault, even if they are unwilling to admit it.
In the moments after an automobile collision, emotions and tempers often run high. It is important to remain as calm as possible. This is especially true when you report your accident to Nationwide.
Steps to Take Following a Collision
In the immediate aftermath of a traffic collision, there are a number of important steps that you should take.
Stay at the Scene
First, never leave the scene of the accident. In many states, it is a criminal offense to drive away from a car accident before reporting it to the proper authorities.
Your main priority should be your own health and the safety of everyone else involved. Check to see whether anyone is hurt or in need of immediate medical attention. If help is necessary, call 911 to request an ambulance. If no one is severely injured, proceed to the next step.
Keep the Scene Safe
If it is safe to do so, move your car out of the roadway. This can help prevent additional accidents. Turn your lights or flashers on to alert other drivers of the collision. If you have road cones or flares, these should be set up around the scene of the crash.
Contact the Police
Even if no one is hurt, it is a good idea to contact the police after a collision. Your insurance provider may require a police report – even if you are only making a claim for the damage to your car.
When the police arrive, provide them with a succinct and factual description of the crash. Do not guess or speculate. You should never say anything that suggests you are responsible for the collision. Even if you are sure that you caused the crash, just provide facts about the crash.
Only an experienced legal professional can determine legal liability. Saying that you are at fault could significantly impair any insurance or personal injury claim that you make.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, collect the contact information of the other involved parties.
For other drivers, you should collect the following information:
- Auto insurance information
- License plate numbers
- Email addresses
- Phone numbers
If there are any witnesses to the car accident, you should also collect their contact information. While trading information is important, keep conversations to a minimum.
You should never discuss fault with the other drivers who are involved. Anything you say could be used to decrease your payment or undermine your claim.
Document the Scene
If you have a smartphone or a camera, take pictures of the damage to the vehicles. If there are any visible injuries, you should also document these.
You should never take pictures of another driver’s car without their permission. As we mentioned above, emotions run high in the moments after a crash.
If another driver is acting aggressively, you should do your best to de-escalate the situation. Never speak or act in ways that would increase the tension.
Contacting Nationwide’s Claims Department
Once you have contacted the necessary authorities and exchanged information, you should contact the claims department at Nationwide. They expect to be notified immediately following an accident.
You can contact the Nationwide claims department at any time. They are open 24/7. Also, their claims website features a form to help you collect important information from the other people involved in the collision.
You can contact Nationwide in several ways, such as:
- Contact the Claims Department by phone at (800) 421-3535
- File a claim through their website
- Contact the driver’s agent
- Use the Nationwide app (compatible with both Apple and Android)
If you are able to speak with the driver’s agent, the process will probably be much more convenient. As we noted, be sure that you do not give any extraneous details about the circumstances of the accident.
Remember that the insurance provider’s goal is to make a profit by paying as little as possible. Do not imply that you are at fault for the accident.
In addition to this, do not say that you are “fine” or “doing well.” While these might seem like social niceties, Nationwide may use these statements to minimize the extent of your injuries. Even if you believe you are not hurt, some damages, like spinal cord injuries, may not be immediately obvious.
Contact a Skilled Car Accident Attorney
Some small accidents can be handled by the Nationwide claims department. However, more serious accidents require a skilled car accident lawyer. If there is significant vehicle damage or if you have been injured, secure the services of a legal professional.
An experienced attorney will know how to effectively negotiate with an insurance provider like Nationwide. Do not speak with an adjuster or opposing legal counsel without the advice of a qualified legal representative. Contact our law office in Houston today at (713) 500-5000.