Sample Demand Letter for Settlement After a Head-on Collision



You will write your demand letter after your medical treatment is complete. The letter presents the facts and issues supporting your claim, and a demand for the amount of compensation you believe fairly represents your damages. Damages include the costs of treatment, related out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Once the claims adjuster reviews your demand letter, the insurance company will either pay you the amount you requested or, more likely, make a counteroffer.

We've constructed a sample letter to assist you when writing your own demand letter. Throughout the letter you will notice buttons. These hints explain the reasoning behind the statements and wording used in the letter. You'll also notice a fair amount of repetition. This is done to stress important facts and liability issues.

Learn more about head-on collision claims here.

Head-on Collision Demand Letter Example

March 2, 2015




Doncair Insurance Company
Ms. Wona Seddle
Claims Adjuster
123 Street - Suite A
Houston, TX 52411

Re:




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

15578-LH
Ima Neglugent
Jessica Hald
08/16/1980
01/25/2015

FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Hint ±
To facilitate out-of-court settlements, most judges grant a form of confidentiality to settlement negotiations. This means what is said between you and the claims adjuster during negotiations cannot be used against you if the claim doesn't settle and ends up in trial.

Your settlement demand letter is considered part of settlement negotiations. In it you may have to address sensitive issues like comparative negligence, pre-existing injuries, work history, and more. Titling your demand letter "For Settlement Purposes Only" confirms you have a reasonable expectation the substance of the letter will remain confidential.


Dear Ms. Wona Seddle:

Hint ±
Begin the letter by summarizing the facts and determination of fault you're relying on to support your claim.


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 ±
It's important to begin your letter on a positive note. This language makes clear your desire is to settle the claim, but you will not hesitate to consider legal action if the claim can't be settled fairly.


As you are aware, on January 25, 2015, I was seriously injured when your insured, Ima Neglugent, while driving her 2010 Ford Mustang, negligently crashed head-on into my 2013 Chevy Cruze. As a result of the collision, I sustained serious injuries and resulting damages, including medical and chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

I was initially treated for my injuries at Suffolk County Memorial Hospital in Oakridge, New York. I later underwent therapy at the We-Care Chiropractic Clinic in Eldridge, New York. My injuries included severe whiplash, a sprained transverse carpal ligament in my right hand, and deep abrasions and bruising to my nose and face.

I also incurred out-of-pocket expenses for medications, a wrist brace, a cervical collar, and costs of transportation to and from treatment. My injuries made it impossible for me to work, so I incurred lost wages. During the course of treatment and recovery, I endured continuing pain and discomfort.

Your insured's negligence was the direct and proximate cause of my injuries and resulting damages.

Hint ±
"Direct and proximate cause" is a legal phrase that connects the at-fault driver's negligence to your damages.


I want to make clear from the outset that I never asked for any of this to happen. Immediately before January 25, I enjoyed a full life, free from pain and discomfort. But after January 25, all that changed. Because of your insured's negligence I incurred economic losses and endured a long period of pain and suffering.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Hint ±
The Statement of Facts sets out the details of the collision and ensuing injuries. It tracks the events beginning with the collision and ends with your demand for compensation.


At approximately 8:00 a.m. on January 25, 2015, I was en route to my job as a licensed practical nurse at the Hillcrest Nursing Home, located at 125 Main Street, Latham New York. I was traveling northbound on Mill Street, a two lane road running north and south. The lanes are divided only by a narrow median.

As I was approaching the intersection of Mill Street and Story Road, suddenly and without notice, your insured, while driving her 2010 Ford Mustang, negligently crossed over the median and crashed head-on into my 2013 Chevy Cruze. The force of impact was so great that it caused the air bag to deploy, striking me in my nose and face.

The force of impact caused my head, neck, and shoulders to violently slam into the airbag and then snap back into the seat and headrest. The impact additionally caused my right wrist to bend unnaturally, causing immediate and searing pain.

Hint ±
Using adverbs like "violently," and adjectives like "searing" and "acute pain" to graphically describe your experience will help leave an impact.


Immediately after the collision, your insured exited her car. I also exited my car and called 911. The Suffolk County Police and Fire Rescue responded within minutes. Your insured and I were evaluated by the paramedics. I complained of serious pain to my neck and shoulders as well as my right hand. Your insured was not injured.

At the scene of the collision, Officer Amy Smith issued two traffic citations to your insured - one for failing to maintain a single lane, and another for unlawfully crossing the median. You possess a copy of the police report. The diagram drawn by Officer Smith clearly indicates your insured was the sole cause of the collision.

Hint ±
Having a police report that confirms the other driver's fault is a slam dunk for your claim. An officer's opinion is objective, and should be the final word in determining fault.


The police report also lists Paul Schultz as a witness. Mr. Schultz stated he saw your insured cross over the median and drive directly into the front of my car. You have indicated that you've spoken with Mr. Schultz.

The paramedics transferred me to the Suffolk County Memorial Hospital in Oakridge, New York. There I was treated by Susan Atwell, M.D. Dr. Atwell ordered x-rays and an MRI. While the x-rays were negative for fractures, the MRI indicated a sprain to the transverse carpal ligament in my right hand. Upon further examination, Dr. Atwell diagnosed my head, shoulder, and neck injuries as severe whiplash. My facial injuries included abrasions and bruising to my nose and facial area.

Dr. Atwell ordered a cervical brace and wrist brace, and advised me to wear both for four to six weeks, depending upon how quickly the pain and discomfort decreased. Dr. Atwell treated my nose and facial abrasions topically. She also prescribed Vicodin 10mg, #30 prn, for pain, and Flexeril 10mg, one every six hours. Dr. Atwell further advised that therapy would expedite my recovery.

Following Dr. Atwell's orders I sought therapy at the We-Care Chiropractic Clinic in Eldridge, New York. Therapy lasted four weeks, from January 30, 2015 to February 28, 2015. Therapy included electrical stimulation, massage therapy, adjustments, and exercise. At all times during therapy, I endured continuing pain and discomfort. You are in possession of the supporting chiropractic narrative.

Hint ±
It's important to let the adjuster know you followed doctor's orders in an effort to heal as quickly as possible. Showing the adjuster you weren't malingering or trying to unnecessarily prolong your treatment makes you and your claim more credible.


At all times during therapy, my personal life was unnecessarily interrupted. I was unable to bathe, dress, clean, or play with my children. I was finally able to return to my job duties on March 1, 2015.

Hint ±
It's important to let the adjuster know her insured's negligence negatively affected your personal life and caused emotional distress. Those effects are just as real as the pain and suffering you endured.


During our previous discussions you contended a brain concussion I sustained two (2) years ago exacerbated the injuries caused by your insured. That is completely untrue. The concussion I sustained in the prior collision was fully healed and I was fully recovered at the time of the collision made the basis of this claim.

Hint ±
Adjusters will frequently use prior injuries as a reason to lessen the amount of your compensation. It's important to address the issue of a pre-existing injury or contentions of contributory negligence "head-on," so to speak. If the adjuster doesn't bring it up, however, you don't have to mention any prior injuries.


INJURIES AND TREATMENT

I was initially treated for my injuries at the scene of the collision by the paramedics. I was then transferred to the Suffolk County Memorial Hospital Emergency Room in Oakridge, New York, with abrasions and bruising to my nose and facial area. I also had severe pain and discomfort to my neck, shoulder and head area, as well as my right hand.

Susan Atwell M.D. was the attending physician. After a full medical evaluation, Dr. Atwell ordered a set of x-rays and an MRI. While the x-rays were negative for fractures, they indicated a severe sprain to the transverse ligament in my right hand. Dr. Atwell diagnosed my head, neck, and shoulder pain as a serious case of whiplash. You possess a copy of Dr. Atwell's medical narrative.

Dr. Atwell's prognosis was four to six weeks of diminishing pain and discomfort. She prescribed Vicodin 10mg, #30 prn, for pain, and Flexeril 10mg, #30 one every six hours, for muscle relaxing. She also prescribed a cervical collar and a wrist brace. Dr. Atwell further prescribed physical therapy, indicating therapy would expedite my recovery.

Following Dr. Atwell's orders I sought therapy at the We-Care Chiropractic Clinic in Eldridge, New York. Chiropractic treatment lasted four weeks, from January 30, 2015 to February 28, 2015. Treatment included electrical stimulation, massage therapy, adjustments, and exercise.

MEDICAL HISTORY

My medical history includes hospitalization at the Suffolk County Memorial Hospital in Oakridge, New York in October of 2008, for a brain concussion sustained in a car collision. In October of 2012, I was treated at the Suffolk County Memorial Hospital for dehydration stemming from a serious case of the flu. At the time of the collision made the basis of this claim, my prior injuries and illnesses were fully healed.

Hint ±
Going back ten years is sufficient. The purpose of your medical history is to head off any contentions by the adjuster that your prior injuries or illnesses aggravated your current injuries. Eliminating those possibilities makes clear your compensation should not be diminished because of those prior injuries or illnesses.


WORK HISTORY

I have been employed as a licensed practical nurse at the Hillcrest Nursing Home located at 125 Main Street, Latham, New York since July, 2009. Prior to that, I was employed as a Nurse's Assistant at the Suffolk County Memorial Hospital in Oakridge, New York. In the past 3 years I have only missed 5 days of work due to illness.

Hint ±
Letting the adjuster know you are a contributing and responsible member of society is another link in your credibility chain. Stating you used a low number of sick days over the past several years lets her know it's unusual for you 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 and chiropractic records and bills, along with copies of receipts for medications, the cervical collar, wrist brace, costs of transportation to and from treatment, and a letter from Hillcrest Nursing Home confirming my lost wages.

Hint ±
Don't include pain and suffering as part of your list of financial losses. Pain and suffering, as you will see below, should be an additional amount added on top of your monetary costs.


Suffolk County Fire and Rescue
Suffolk County Memorial Hospital
We-Care Chiropractic Clinic
Lost Wages
Out-of-Pocket Expenses

$600.00
$3,800.00
$3,500.00
$3,200.00
$310.00

After careful consideration of liability and damages, and a review of standard settlements for similar personal injury cases with similar fact patterns, I am convinced a fair and reasonable settlement inclusive of my pain and suffering is $31,160.00.

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

In the above example, the victim's medical bills total $7,900.00. By settling for 3.5 times the medicals ($27,650.00), plus out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages ($3,510.00), the victim's total financial losses will be reimbursed and she'll receive $19,750.00 as compensation for her pain and suffering.

It's extremely rare for an adjuster to accept a first offer for settlement. Your first demand should be slightly inflated, with the expectation of compromising the amount with the adjuster.


Yours truly,

_________________
Jessica Hald
jessh@example.com
555-325-2351

Hint ±
Be sure to only list contact details where you're comfortable receiving correspondence from the insurance company.


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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
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PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
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