You will write a settlement demand letter once your medical treatment is complete. The letter’s purpose is to summarize the events surrounding your injury, to address the cause supporting your claim, and to make a demand for a specific amount of compensation (for the damages you sustained as a result of the defective product).
Damages in product liability claims can include your medical, chiropractic, therapeutic, and dental bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for costs such as medications, bandages, crutches, cervical collars, costs of transportation to and from treatment, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are three main types of product liability cases:
- Defective design
- Defective manufacture
- Defective marketing (“Failure to warn”)
While this demand letter sample addresses the third category – failure to provide sufficient labeling concerning the use of a product – it may also be used as a reference for injuries sustained from the first two types of cases.
In this sample, we discuss a defective product case involving a manufacturer’s failure to provide sufficient warning on a desk lamp, resulting in the victim suffering serious burns.
By the time you write your demand letter you should have copies of your medical records and bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and a signed letter from your employer confirming your lost wages. You should also have copies of any witness statements and other evidence.
Creating Your Demand Letter
Keep in mind most insurance claims adjusters are working on well over a hundred claims at any one time. Your demand letter will be one of many, and to the adjuster, most demand letters look alike. You want your demand letter to stand out from the crowd.
Because you’re representing yourself, you won’t have the advantage of printing your letter on an attorney’s letterhead. To compensate for this, your letter must be absolutely correct in form and substance. This includes typing your letter on clean white or ivory bond paper, and eliminating grammar and spelling errors.
Your letter must be written logically, with a clear presentation of the facts supporting the amount you’re demanding for compensation. Once completed, show the letter to a few close family members or friends. They may notice errors you overlooked. Even professional writers have editors to correct mistakes.
Below is a sample product liability demand letter you can use as a reference when writing your own letter. Throughout the letter you’ll notice buttons. These hints will help you understand the meaning and relevance of the wording and terms.
Some product liability claims are handled directly by the manufacturer, while others are handled by the manufacturer’s insurance company. In many cases, the retail store which sold the defective product may be liable as well. A claim against the retail store will be separate from the claim against the manufacturer.
Determining liability can be tricky in defective product cases. It’s always a good idea to get a free case evaluation from an experienced attorney in your area.
Product Liability Demand Letter Sample
March 14th, 2015
Mr. Harold Holden
ABC Insurance Company
1100 Main Street
Anytown, NY 11770
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
To encourage out-of-court settlements, many judges afford claim negotiations a form of qualified confidentiality. This means the issues discussed in your settlement demand letter can’t later be used against you if your claim doesn’t settle and goes to trial.
This is important because it allows you and the adjuster to have a frank discussion about sensitive issues involved in the claim. Titling your demand letter with the words “For Settlement Purposes Only” confirms you are communicating with a reasonable expectation of confidentiality.
Dear Mr. Holden,
As you are aware, on February 15th, 2015 I sustained first and second degree burns after grasping the housing on a Triton Lamp – manufactured by your insured, The Ajax Corporation. As a result of the burns I was hospitalized, incurring medical bills and other losses.
Your insured was negligent in failing to provide a warning label on the lamp concerning possible burns from touching the bulb housing. That negligence was the direct and proximate cause of my injuries and resulting damages. Those damages include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On Monday, February 15th, 2015 at approximately 7:00 p.m. I sat down at a desk in my home. That evening I was researching a topic for a class I was taking at Union Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. Immediately after sitting down I switched on the Triton Lamp (Serial Number 16775ATR). Earlier that day I purchased the Triton Lamp from the Allen Lamp Emporium located at 677 Main Street in Phoenix, AZ 85014. I previously mailed to you a copy of my receipt for the lamp.
The lamp has a warning label located next to the on-off switch. The warning states the bulb screwed into the lamp’s housing should not exceed 60 watts. The bulb I placed in the housing was 60 watts.
At approximately 9:00 p.m. I reached with my right hand to adjust the lamp. As I did, I placed my right hand and fingers over the housing surrounding the bulb. Immediately upon touching the housing I felt a searing pain to the skin on my right hand and fingers. I instinctively and immediately removed my hand, only to find the skin on my hand and fingers had been violently burned away.
While still pulsating with pain I ran to the sink in my kitchen and ran cold water over the burns. At the same time I called out to my roommate Sara Donnelly. Ms. Donnelly came to my aid and noticed the skin on my right hand and fingers was fully reddened and blistered. It is my understanding you have spoken with Ms. Donnelly and have a copy of her written statement.
Ms. Donnelly helped wrap my right hand and fingers in gauze and then immediately drove me to the We-Care Medical Clinic located at 266 Main Street in Phoenix. The clinic was crowded. As a result, I had to wait over an hour before I was seen by Dr. Elmore Lathan. At all times while waiting I was in severe pain.
After examining my right hand and fingers, Dr. Lathan informed me I had sustained first degree burns on my right fingers and a second degree burn on my right palm. Dr. Lathan applied an antibiotic ointment to my hand and wrapped it in fresh gauze.
The doctor indicated it would likely take a minimum of three (3) weeks before the second degree burn would fully heal. During that time, Dr. Lathan indicated I should refrain from using the hand and fingers and apply antibiotic ointment and fresh bandages every eight (8) hours. The doctor then discharged me after writing a prescription to manage pain: Percoset 10mg #30, taken every four (4) hours.
On February 7th, 2015 Ms. Donnelly drove me to the Allen Lamp Emporium. There I spoke with the store’s owner Ms. Susan Afton. I explained to her how the Triton Lamp I recently purchased caused severe burns to my right hand and fingers. She apologized and said she was unaware the lamp was dangerous. She stated she was aware the lamp’s housing became hot after several hours of use, but was unaware the temperature could reach a level high enough to cause burns.
These statements are referred to as Admissions Against Interest, and are exceptions to the Hearsay Rule. This means they can be admitted in court if the case goes to trial. Insurance company claims adjusters know about admissions against interest and are likely to take them seriously when presented in your demand letter.
I have been employed since 2012 as a full-time delivery driver with Alert Delivery Company located at 2566 Bell Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012. My normal rate of pay at Alert Delivery is $16.00 per hour. My job requires I drive a company truck to at least eight (8) locations daily. There I must unload my truck while lifting packages weighing up to forty (40) pounds.
As a result of my required treatment and recovery period, I was unable to work from February 15th, 2015 through March 10th, 2015. Drivers aren’t paid for time off resulting from non-work related injuries. In addition to working full-time, I attend night classes at the Union Community College in Phoenix.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
I received treatment at the We-Care Medical Clinic located at 266 Main Street, Phoenix, AZ 85016. There I was treated by Elmore Lathan, M.D. Dr. Lathan diagnosed my injuries as first and second degree burns to my right hand and fingers. Dr. Lathan indicated recovery would take three (3) weeks.
Dr. Lathan prescribed Percoset 10mg, #30, once every four (4) hours, and Asart Antibiotic Ointment to be applied every eight (8) hours while changing the gauze over my burns. I have previously mailed to you a copy of my medical chart and narrative from Dr. Lathan. Following Dr. Lathan’s orders, I completed my treatment on March 10th, 2015, at which time I returned to work.
Prior to February 15th, 2015 I had sustained no injuries to my right hand or fingers.
Driving distance to and from treatment at the We-Care Medical Clinic totaled 80 miles. At the generally accepted rate of $.55 cents per mile those expenses equaled $42.00. Medications and gauze totaled $100.00.
I have been employed since May 2012 as a full-time delivery driver with Alert Delivery Company located at 2566 Bell Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012. At the date of loss my rate of pay was $16.00 per hour. I was able to return to work on March 10th, 2015. The amount of my lost wages directly attributable to my injuries, treatment, and recovery was $1,920.00.
ITEMIZATION OF DAMAGES
- Medical Chart and Narrative from Elmore Lathan M.D.
- Copy of Witness Statement from Ms. Sara Donnelly
- Lost Wage Verification from Alert Delivery Company
- Copy of Receipt from the Allen Lamp Emporium for the Triton Lamp
PAIN AND SUFFERING
The events surrounding my injuries and subsequent treatment and recovery have been physically and psychologically devastating. I never asked for any of this to happen. Your insured’s negligence in failing to place sufficient warnings regarding possible burns from the housing on the Triton Lamp changed my life.
Before my injuries I lived a full life, free of pain and discomfort. Since my injuries I’ve experienced serious pain and discomfort, anxiety, guilt and depression. All these are directly attributable to your insured’s negligence.
Without income during the treatment and recovery period I was forced to borrow money from friends and family. This was entirely embarrassing to me.
If you were married during your treatment and recovery, and your pain and suffering prevented you from being intimate with your spouse, you may have a claim for Loss of Consortium. Loss of consortium has historically been recognized by courts in many states as a valid and compensable form of damages.
After careful consideration of the issues involved in this claim, and a review of jury verdicts and insurance settlements with similar fact patterns, I believe the amount of $6,300.00 represents a fair and equitable settlement amount.
My intention is to settle this claim amicably. I would prefer not to seek legal representation, but unless you are prepared to settle this claim fairly, I will have no alternative but to immediately seek the advice and counsel of an attorney.
1567 South Mill Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85017