In November of 1997 my wife was driving to church with our two year old toddler in the back seat of our 1991 Honda Accord EX. A driver insured by Nationwide ignored a solid red light (which had been red for about 15 seconds already) and nailed our car on the driver's side rear wheel area.
Our car was spun at least 180 degrees by the impact. The toddler was unhurt, but my wife's lower back suffered a permanent injury that sometimes causes her a great deal of pain, including shooting pains down her legs and numbness in her fingers.
She lost her job as she could no longer fufill the physical requirements of it. The bills began to mount quickly. She saw an assortment of doctors and a physical therapist. We collected from our company (USAA) to the maximum limit allowed by our policy (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist) within a few months of the accident.
Nationwide was a completely different story. Their claims agent, Jaime Herrera, kept pushing us off with various lame excuses such as "He didn't have our paperwork". We spoke with clerical assistants in doctor's offices as they were feeding faxes into their machines and Jaime would then state he hadn't received them anyway. We finally gathered all the papers ourselves and shipped them certified mail. Made no difference. Nothing budged with Nationwide for over a year. Finally, I called one day and learned that our claim had been turned over to a new agent. We were back to square one.
At this point, I got a lawyer. He began stirring some life out of Nationwide, but they kept playing hardball, refusing to pay their insured's policy limit. Their insured driver was carrying the state of Texas' legal minimum for liability insurance and yet they wouldn't even pay that meager amount. I say meager when compared to the lifetime injuries my wife suffered.
Finally, we sued the insured just short of the two year cutoff and Nationwide settled within a couple months as we began closing in on a court date. They paid the policy limit and washed their hands of us. What Nationwide had done was completely unethical and contrary to the terms of their charter to provide property and casualty insurance in the state of Texas. They were completely fraudulent in seeking to settle this claim.
Two lessons. 1) Always carry a high limit for UM/UIM. 2) Don't go near Nationwide Insurance. My wife still has pain and still is not up to the physical requirements of her old job. Thank you, God for sparing our toddler from ANY injury in this mess. Thank you also that Nationwide's insured driver admitted 100 percent fault in the accident. That helped keep the Big N on the hook.