Sample Demand Letter for a Boat Accident Injury Claim



The sample demand letter below is for a hypothetical boat injury claim. Boats can include powerboats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and jet skis. Unlike cars, where seat belts are mandatory and airbags are present in most current models, boats have little in the way of occupant protection. As a result, boat collisions and on-board accidents are much more likely to result in serious injuries.

By the time you're ready to write your settlement demand letter, the insurance adjuster will likely have reviewed your medical records and bills, receipts for your out-of-pocket expenses (such as medications, bandages, etc.), any witness statements, Coast Guard or police reports, and your lost wages verification.

While the majority of boating accidents are caused by boat-owner negligence, there are some accidents caused by faulty design or a defect in manufacturing. If you were injured because of a faulty design or defect, you may have the basis of a product liability case against the boat's manufacturer.

Learn more about boat accident claims here.

The Demand Letter

A settlement demand letter is the core of claim negotiations. The letter pulls together all of the pertinent information of an injury claim and presents it as a cohesive, logical, and professional demand for compensation rightfully owed to a victim.

Your demand letter will discuss the facts surrounding your claim, the type of injuries you sustained, the medical and out-of-pocket expenses resulting from your injuries, and the legal theories you are relying on to support your claim. The letter concludes by making a monetary demand for the compensation you believe is fair and equitable for the type of injuries you sustained.

By substituting information unique to your claim, you will be able to construct a demand letter that is professional and effective. As you go through the letter you will come across buttons. These hints will guide you through the writing process, while helping you understand the factual and legal basis for your demand.

Boat Accident Demand Letter Example

August 8, 2014




Doncair Insurance Company
Ms. Wona Seddle
Claims Adjuster
123 Street - Suite A
Tempe, Arizona 04929

Re:




Claim Number:
Your Insured:
Claimant:
Claimant DOB:
Date of Loss:

9096 - KG
Ima Dangrous
Tammy Suglia
05/14/1960
07/05/2014

FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Hint ±
Demand letters are an integral part of the settlement process. To facilitate out-of-court settlements, most judges afford negotiations, including demand letters and the information contained in them, a qualified privilege of confidentiality.

This means you can freely discuss issues related to your claim, including the weaker aspects of your claim, without fear that information will later be used against you if your claim can't be settled and ends up in trial. Salient issues can include allegations of comparative negligence, pre-existing injuries, criminal background, etc.

While titling your demand letter with the phrase FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY is not a legal requirement, doing so makes clear you have a reasonable expectation the matters discussed in your demand letter will remain confidential.


Dear Ms. Seddle:

Hint ±
You will first summarize the facts of your claim, including the events leading to your injuries, the negligence of the insured, the underlying law, and your resulting damages. Damages can include your medical and chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


As you are aware, I am currently not represented by an attorney. I am writing this demand letter in good faith, in hope of settling my claim amicably and without the need for litigation.

Hint ±
This sets the tone for the rest of the letter and any further negotiations. You're letting the adjuster know you want a fair settlement, but if your claim can't be settled, you won't hesitate to consider legal action. Be careful not to use threatening or otherwise unprofessional language.


As you are aware, your insured is the owner of a twenty-two foot Mastercraft X Star, Registration Number WN82689NT. On July 5, 2014 I was seriously injured when your insured, while intoxicated, crashed into my twenty-four foot Cobalt 240 Registration Number WN67576TY.

My injuries included deep lacerations to my left hand and a severe sprain to the triceps tendon in my left upper arm. While you contend I was not wearing my seat belt at the time, failing to do so was not a violation of county, state, or federal maritime law, and can not be considered proof of contributory negligence.

Hint ±
Address any allegations that you contributed to your own injuries. Because of the confidentiality afforded to demand letters, the fact that you made such an admission against your own interests can not be used against you in court.

However, you are not obliged to discuss contributory negligence, pre-existing injuries, etc., unless the adjuster has previously brought those issues up. It's the adjuster's job to investigate the claim on behalf of her insured. You don't need to help her.


Your insured had a legal duty to steer the boat safely. She wholly failed in that duty. But for your insured's negligence I would not have been injured. Your insured's negligence was the direct and proximate cause of my injuries and resulting damages.

Hint ±
"But for" and "direct and proximate cause" are legal phrases used to connect the boat owner's negligence to your injuries and subsequent damages.


Your insured was subsequently arrested by the Volusia County, Florida's Sheriff's Department for operating a boat while intoxicated.

I was initially treated for my injuries at the Volusia County Hospital's Emergency Room located at 8996 Western Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida. I was later treated at the Romero Clinic at 7882 Avondale Street, Daytona Beach, Florida. Because of my injuries and required treatment, I was unable to work, resulting in out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages.

I want to make clear from the outset that I never asked for any of this to happen. Up to this point, I had enjoyed a life free of pain and discomfort. On July 5th, all that changed. Because of your insured's negligence, my life was irrevocably changed, resulting in substantial financial and personal losses.

FACTUAL SUMMARY

Hint ±
The factual summary concisely sets out the details of your injuries and resulting damages. While you may find the language in parts of the demand letter repetitive, the repetition is necessary to avoid confusion and eliminate mistaken impressions.


On July 5, 2014, at approximately 3:30 p.m., I was operating my twenty-four foot Cobalt 240. At all times relevant to the facts made the basis of this claim, I was acting appropriately and safely. At about that time, your insured Ima Dangrous, while operating her Mastercraft X Star negligently and recklessly, steered the boat directly into the bow of my Cobalt 240. Both boats sustained heavy damage.

As your insured's boat crashed into mine, I was violently propelled backward toward the stern. The force of impact caused my left hand to be raked along the rough surface of the floor of the boat. As I tried to grab on to the side of the boat, I suddenly felt a searing acute pain in my left arm.

Hint ±
Use adjectives and adverbs whenever possible to add color to your description. For example, "searing pain" is more effective than just saying "pain."


While speaking with your insured after the crash, I detected a strong odor of alcohol. I called 911 and asked for the police. The Magnolia County Sheriff's Department arrived soon after. The sheriff's deputies asked if anyone was injured. At the time I was in shock, and although I was in severe pain and bleeding, I indicated I didn't need to be transferred to the local hospital.

After speaking with everyone present, your insured was arrested by the sheriff's deputies for operating a boat while intoxicated. You are in possession of the police report confirming your insured's arrest and her citation for driving recklessly - an indication the collision was the sole fault of your insured.

Later that night I went to bed feeling nauseated and in severe discomfort. When I awoke on the morning of July 6th, I could barely move my left arm. The pain had increased exponentially and my left upper arm showed deep bruising and swelling. My roommate drove me to the Volusia County Hospital's Emergency Room located at 8996 Western Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida.

X-rays were taken at the hospital. While there were no fractures, my attending physician, Dr. Irvin Greene identified the injury to my left upper arm as a severely strained triceps tendon. I was treated with a topical antibiotic for the deep abrasions to my left hand and the hand was bandaged.

To effectively treat the damage to my left triceps tendon, Dr. Greene indicated I would need to immobilize the arm as much as possible over the next four weeks. He placed it in a sling and advised me to continue using the sling over the next four weeks.

I am left-handed. The injuries to my triceps tendon and to my left hand made writing all but impossible. The injury also made bathing, dressing, and engaging in other normal activities very difficult.

Hint ±
Let the adjuster know there was more to your injuries than just financial loss and pain and discomfort. Let her know how your life was interrupted, making the most basic tasks exacting and cumbersome.


I was later treated at the Romero Clinic at 7882 Avondale Street, Daytona Beach, Florida. There, I endured continuing pain and discomfort as I followed the challenging regimen set out for me. My treatment included electrical stimulation, massage therapy, whirlpool immersion, and exercise.

During the four-week period immediately following July 5, 2014, I was unable to work at my job as a bus driver for the Volusia County School District. As a result, I had no income during that time. On August 5, 2014, I returned to my job as a bus driver for the Volusia County School District.

Hint ±
Strictly adhering to your treatment plan shows the adjuster you weren't a malingerer or trying to unnecessarily prolong your treatment. Your sole goal was to recover quickly so you might return to work at the earliest possible time.


INJURIES AND TREATMENT

I was initially examined by Irvin Greene, M.D., at the Volusia County Hospital's Emergency Room, 8996 Western Boulevard, Daytona Beach, Florida. X-rays were taken to determine the extent of my injuries. While the x-rays were negative for fractures, Dr. Greene concluded I sustained a severe sprain to my left triceps tendon and would have to immobilize my left arm for the next four weeks.

Dr. Greene also treated me for the deep abrasions to my left hand. He prescribed Vicodin 10mg #30, prn, Flexeril 10mg #30, twice daily, Zithromax Z-Pack, and Neosporin. Following Dr. Greene's orders, I began therapy on July 7, 2014 at Romero Clinic at 7882 Avondale Street, Daytona Beach, Florida. My therapy included electrical stimulation to my left upper arm, massage therapy, and whirlpool therapy.

MEDICAL HISTORY

I am a 28-year-old female with an unremarkable medical history. My prior medical history includes emergency room treatment in February of 2009 at the Magnolia County Hospital's Emergency Room for dehydration caused by the flu. Prior to that I was treated in May of 2007 at the Volusia County Hospital's Emergency Room for a fracture to the humerus in my left arm. At the time of the injury made the basis of this claim, I was fully recovered from all previous injuries and illness.

Hint ±
It's important to be honest about prior injures. You want to make it clear that any previous injuries were fully healed. You don't want to give the adjuster a reason to assert your current injury is just an exacerbation of a pre-existing injury.


WORK HISTORY

I have been employed full-time for the last eight years as a bus driver for the Volusia County School District. Prior to my employment with the School District, I was employed as a receptionist at the Palen Furniture Store located at 7887 Logitel Road, Daytona Beach, Florida. Until the date your insured caused my injuries, I had missed less than ten days of work with the Volusia County School District.

Hint ±
This lets the adjuster know that missing work is alien to you, and helps reinforce the notion you are not using your injury as an excuse to miss work.


DAMAGES

The following is a list of my medical bills and other financial losses. I have already sent you copies of my medical records and bills, and physical therapy records and bills. You also have copies of receipts for medications, the sling, and costs of travel to and from treatment. Additionally, you have a signed letter from my employer confirming workdays missed and corresponding wages lost.

Volusia County Hospital
Romero Clinic
Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Lost Wages

$1,500.00
$3,400.00
$285.00
$2,300.00

After careful consideration of liability and damages, and an in-depth review of standard settlements for similar injury cases with similar fact patterns, I am convinced a fair and reasonable settlement inclusive of my pain and suffering is $21,585.00.

Hint ±
For soft-tissue injuries like sprained tendons or muscles, you can use a multiple of 2-5x the victim's medical bills to come up with a total settlement demand amount. That amount takes into account all medical bills and other losses, and includes an amount for pain and suffering.

In the above example, four times the victim's total medical bills equals $19,600.00. Expenses and lost wages total $2,585.00. The total demand of $21,585.00 ensures all financial losses will be recovered, along with an additional amount of $14,100.00 for the victim's pain and suffering. It's unlikely the adjuster will agree with the initial demand, it's more of a starting point for negotiations.


Please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

__________________
Tammy Suglia
325 NW 2nd Ave.
Daytona Beach, FL 32402

Phone: 555-325-2395
Email: busdriver@example.com

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
YES! I WANT FAIR COMPENSATION