Berks County motorcycle accidents lawyer Lee Gaber offers expert opinion on multi-million dollar insurance payout
If you have a television, you have heard the cute insurance company jingles. You’ve seen the talking gecko, have become all too familiar with Flo, and have been startled by State Farms’ teleporting claims adjustors.
All the major insurers have forced their advertising and branding into our collective consciousness to one degree or another for decades now. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company’s slogan (“Nationwide is on your side”) – set to a catchy tune – has been around longer and is less annoying than most.
But a recent judgment handed down in a Berks County car accident case makes me wonder if Nationwide really is on your side
Despite the fact that car accidents are not generally my focus unless they involve a biker, as a motorcycle accident attorney in PA, I took a professional interest in the case, and have been tracking its progress through the system.
It all started back in 1996 when the Bergs, who were insured with Nationwide, were involved in an accident. They brought their Jeep Cherokee to a Nationwide-approved body shop and were told it was totaled to the tune of over $25,000.00. However, despite being told that the “whole body [of the car] was twisted,” Nationwide sought another opinion and received an estimate for less than half of the $25,000.00. They insisted that the vehicle be repaired.
When the Bergs found out what happened they contacted a lawyer and sued Nationwide.
It was not just about the money. The Bergs suspected that Nationwide was trying to foist an unsafe or faulty vehicle on them. And ultimately Berks County Judge Sprecher agreed with the Bergs, writing in his opinion:
Nationwide’s actions in this case showed reckless indifference to its own insured when it permitted the Jeep to be repaired and returned to the Bergs to be driven on public roads.
He further added that Nationwide was willing to risk their insureds’ lives to save itself money on the collision claim. This type of treatment is one reason that I recommend other insurance companies rather than Nationwide for motorcycle riders.
The case dragged on until just recently (more than 20 years!), when Judge Sprecher awarded $18 million in punitive damages to the Bergs and an additional $3 million in fees to their attorneys.
Now just imagine if you had been the plaintiff in an accident claim and Nationwide was responsible for repairing your bike. The same thing would have happened to you, unless you were fully insured and fully covered. For Motorcycle accident cases, that would include Comprehensive and Collision coverage, as well as medical.
A Berks County motorcycle accidents lawyer might be the only obstacle between you and a 20-year ordeal like the Bergs experienced.
In my years as a motorcycle injury attorney, and as a biker myself, I have come to understand that it’s just a fact of life that insurance companies still routinely treat us as if we are less deserving of respect than other motorists. The same can be said of the legal system, which is why it is a good idea to work with a specialist Berks County motorcycle accidents lawyer.
Seeing the way Nationwide treated this unassuming couple, can you imagine the foot dragging and disrespect you would face if you made a motorcycle accident claim against them without a tenacious ally on your side?
Unfortunately, Mrs. Berg passed away from cancer at the age of 62 this past April before Judge Sprecher handed down his ruling. She did not survive to see the victorious outcome of her case.
As always, please feel free to call Berks County motorcycle accidents lawyer Lee D. Gaber, Esq. at 1-888-292-5352 (1-888-CYCLE-LAW).