Nationwide Insurance Ordered to Pay their Own Policyholder More than $500,000

Dec 09, 2019 Car Accidents    Insurance Issues    Legal Blog    News Articles – Press Release

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

As drivers, we know that accidents happen. “That’s what insurance is for,” but what if the driver at-fault doesn’t have enough coverage to compensate you?

Well – there’s insurance for that too. It’s called Underinsured Motorist coverage, and it’s a supplemental policy meant for situations like the one described. That is unless your insurance company doesn’t want to pay.

When a Franklin County man had the misfortune of being injured in two separate car accidents with underinsured drivers, he thought that after paying his monthly premiums, Nationwide Insurance would step in. After all, he had an underinsured policy and was not responsible for either accident.

Nationwide said not so fast.

The first collision occurred in May 2012, where he was T-boned at 45 miles per hour. While he didn’t notice any immediate injuries, he started feeling pain in his neck, head, right shoulder, and left knee the next day.

He went to the emergency room and treated for a small contusion to his head. Imaging later showed damage to his left shoulder and right knee. Over the next year-and-a-half, he had pain injections and physical therapy, but nothing helped.

Then, in November 2013, the man was in another car accident. This time he was rear-ended at 25 miles per hour, and taken to the hospital via ambulance for neck pain. This led to more physical therapy and injections.

To deal with the injuries from both wrecks, he underwent both shoulder and neck surgery in 2017. All in all, his medical bills totaled more than $160,000, but each of the other drivers only carried state minimum coverage. With $25,000 only being a drop in the bucket, he turned to his underinsured policy to cover the rest.

Nationwide denied his claim.

Nationwide refused to pay their own policyholder, saying his shoulder, neck, and knee injuries were not caused by the collisions. Instead, they claimed his injuries were degenerative, meaning they were a result of normal wear and tear on the body.

The accident victim was represented by Columbus car accident attorneys Jack Lah and Joel Gonzalez, both of Kisling, Nestico & Redick, one the largest personal injury law firms in Ohio, who acted on their client’s behalf. KNR aggressively pursued a fair recovery during negotiations, but Nationwide’s top offer was a nominal settlement.

Since this wouldn’t come close to meeting their client’s needs, attorneys Jack Lah and Joel Gonzalez moved forward to trial.

KNR took the Case to the Jury.

Both sides presented their arguments, but the case relied heavily on the expert medical testimony provided. KNR’s medical experts Dr. Douglas Chonko and Dr. Mark A. White related the man’s injuries to the car accidents, and both testified that he’d need future surgeries as a result of the collisions. This countered Nationwide’s expert, Dr. Steven Wunder, and the case was sent to the jury.

In the end, the jury was unimpressed with Nationwide’s attempt to skirt their obligations. And due in large part to KNR’s advocacy and presentation, all eight jurors returned a verdict against Nationwide for $584,222.98.

$326,524.89 for the first accident:

Past medical – $29,084.89;
Future medical – $25,000;
Past compensatory damages – $163,450,
Future compensatory damages – $107,990.

$258,698.09 for the second accident:

Past medical – $17,058.09;
Future medical- $25,000;
Past compensatory damages – $108,650,
Future compensatory damages – $107,990.

Individual results may vary based on the facts, injuries, jurisdiction, venue, witnesses, parties, and other factors.

Hurt in a Car?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, and your insurance carrier is refusing to do what’s right, call the skilled Ohio personal injury attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW today.

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