Sample Demand Letter for a Boat Accident Injury Claim

Handling your own boat injury claim? See our sample letter demanding compensation from the at-fault boat owner’s insurance company.

Unlike cars, where seat belts are mandatory and airbags are present in most current models, boats and other watercraft have little in the way of occupant protection. Recreational water vehicles can include powerboats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and jet skis.

Due to the lack of occupant safety measures, boat collisions and onboard accidents are much more likely to result in serious injuries.

While most 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 might have the basis of a product liability case against the boat’s manufacturer.

When you’re injured in an avoidable boat accident, you expect the negligent boat owner to pay for your injury costs and related losses. Many boat owners carry liability insurance coverage for their watercraft under their homeowner’s insurance or as a rider to their auto insurance.

You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to get full compensation for severe injury or drowning claims.

However, you can probably settle a minor injury claim on your own, directly with the insurance company. But first, you must take the time to learn about the personal injury claim process.

When you’re ready to negotiate, you’ll get the ball rolling with a formal written demand for compensation.

Get in-depth information on How to Write a Strong Demand for Compensation.

Assembling an Effective Demand Packet

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 why the at-fault boater is responsible for your damages.

The letter concludes by making a monetary demand for the compensation you believe is fair for the type of injuries you sustained.

Hard costs, also called “special damages,” are measured by adding up your medical bills, receipts, and a wage loss statement from your employer.

“General damages” include pain and suffering, psychological distress, and other emotional costs that have no objective measurement. However, you can account for pain and suffering in other ways.

You’ll calculate the settlement value of your injury claim by totaling your special and general damages.

Collect all the evidence to support your claim, including:

Make copies of all your evidence to enclose with your demand letter.

Drafting a Convincing Demand Letter

Your demand letter can look just as good as a letter drafted by an attorney with some attention to detail, such as:

  • Use the review functions in your word processor app to check spelling and grammar
  • Manually review the spelling of names and locations
  • Double-check your calculations and make sure the numbers are correct in your letter
  • Print your demand letter on quality white or cream-colored bond paper

Your demand letter should include:

  • Statement of Facts: A description of what happened before and after the crash
  • Liability: An explanation of the evidence that shows the other boater was at fault
  • Injuries: A description of your injuries, emotional distress, and pain and suffering
  • Damages: A detailed accounting of your special and general damages

Make a copy of the finished demand packet for your injury claim file. When you’re talking with the adjuster, it helps to have your copy handy, so you’re both “on the same page” during negotiations.

Send the letter by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested. When the green card comes back, confirming your letter was received, attach it to your copy of the demand letter.

Sample Boat Accident Demand Letter

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 why the at-fault boater is responsible for your damages.

The letter concludes by making a monetary demand for the compensation you believe is fair for the type of injuries you sustained.

Here we’ve written a sample letter using a fictitious boat accident claim with tips to help you write your own demand letter.

Click the buttons to see tips you can use for writing a demand letter.

Tammy Sherwood
325 NW 2nd Ave.
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

August 26, 2020

Traditional Insurance Company
123 Street – Suite A
Tempe, Arizona 04929

Attn: Frank Smith

Your Insured: Candace Jeffries

Re: Boat Collision on July 5, 2020

The insurance company correspondence might refer to the collision date as the “Loss Date,” “Date of Loss,” or “DOL.”

Claim Number:  TIC000987


Adding “For Settlement Purposes Only” at the top of your letter indicates your settlement negotiations are not be used in court. If you later file a lawsuit, you might ask for a different amount of money.

Dear Mr. Smith:

As you know, on July 5, 2020, at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon, I was safely operating my 23-foot outboard motorboat when I was seriously injured by the collision caused by your insured, who was intoxicated and negligently steered her MasterCraft speed boat into the bow of my boat.

If not for the negligence of your insured, Candace Jeffries, I would not have suffered my injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The injuries from the crash left me in terrible pain and unable to work for a month. I was treated for my injuries at the County Hospital and by my primary care physician, Dr. Romero. Your insured’s negligence was the direct cause of my injuries.

I was operating my motorboat safely and soberly, in accordance with all state safe boating laws. There was no time for me to avoid your client’s speeding craft before impact. I was injured in the crash caused by your intoxicated insured through no fault of my own.

It’s important to point out upfront that you did nothing wrong and couldn’t avoid the boating accident. In pure contributory negligence states like Alabama, your claim can be denied if you share any blame.

I never asked for any of this to happen. Before Candace Jeffries rammed my boat, I had a full and busy work and home life, free of pain and discomfort. All that changed after she hit me on July 5, 2020.

Because of your insured’s negligence, I endured and continue to endure significant pain and discomfort. In addition to my pain and discomfort, I sustained financial losses from medical expenses and loss of income.


On July 5, 2020, at approximately 3:30 p.m., I was safely operating my 24-foot Cobalt 240. I was sober and following safe boating rules. About that time, your insured Candace Jeffries recklessly drove her MasterCraft speedboat directly into the bow of my Cobalt 240. Both boats were badly damaged.

As your insured’s boat crashed into mine, I was violently thrown toward the back of my boat. Not only was my left hand raked across the rough surface of the boats non-skid floor, as I tried to grab on to the side of the boat, I suddenly felt an excruciating pain in my left arm.

Use descriptive words to add color to your story, without exaggerating. For example, “excruciating pain” is more effective than just saying “bad pain.”

We made it to the nearest dock. While speaking with your insured after the crash, I realized she reeked of alcohol. I called 911 and asked for the police.

The Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene and asked if anyone was injured. Although I was in severe pain and bleeding, I was in too much shock to realize I probably needed an ambulance. I told the officer my friend would take me to the emergency room.

After speaking with everyone present, your insured was arrested by the sheriff’s deputies for operating a boat while intoxicated. Enclosed is a copy of the police report confirming Candace Jeffries’ arrest and citations for operating a boat while intoxicated and reckless driving.

As you can see in the police report, your insured was at fault for the collision and my injuries.

My roommate drove me to the County Hospital for treatment in the emergency department.

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 treat the damage to my left triceps tendon without surgery, Dr. Greene said 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 my left hand made writing all but impossible. Since I couldn’t lift my left arm or use my left hand, it was very hard for me to shower, fix my hair, get dressed, and perform most other normal daily activities.

Let the adjuster know there was more to your injuries than just financial loss and pain and discomfort. Describe how the injury affected your activities of daily living.

As instructed by the emergency room doctor, the following day I saw my primary care provider, Dr. Romero, who verified the severity of the tendon injuries in my left arm. He also treated the abrasions on my hand with antibiotic ointment and new dressings.

Because my job as a county bus driver requires the use of both arms, it was four full weeks before Dr. Romero released me to return to work. In the meantime, I had no income.

Dr. Romero had me come back two weeks later to assess my recovery. As you can see in the enclosed medical records, Dr. Romero determined my injured arm was not yet fully healed. He ordered two weeks of physical therapy to recover the use of my left arm.

The physical therapy was painful and difficult, as the torn tendons and traumatized muscles in my arm were forced to move and stretch, but I did everything the doctor ordered so I could get the use of my arm back.

Strictly adhering to your treatment plan shows the adjuster you weren’t a malingerer or trying to prolong your treatment.


I was initially examined by Dr. Greene at the County Hospital’s emergency room. X-rays were taken to determine the extent of my injuries. Dr. Greene noted from the X-ray that I had an old humerus fracture (from high-school) that was fully healed and not related to my current injuries.

It’s important to be honest about prior injuries and 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 a flare-up from a pre-existing condition.

While the x-rays were negative for new 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. I was prescribed a few days of Tramadol for pain and ordered to follow up with my primary doctor.

The next day I was treated by my primary care physician, Dr. Romero, who confirmed the tendon damage to my left arm, re-dressed my left hand, and immobilized my left arm with a sling. He advised I would be out of work for at least four weeks, and gave me a work slip for my employer.

After a two-week checkup with Dr. Romero, I was ordered to continue to immobilize my arm outside of the physical therapy that was ordered to restore the use of my left arm.

I did everything as prescribed by my physicians to restore the use of my arm and hand as soon as possible.


I have been employed full-time for the last eight years as a county bus driver. In all of my eight years working for the county, I’ve missed less than ten days of work. I’m a dependable employee with an excellent attendance record.

I did not ask to be taken out of work because of my injuries. Because of the negligence of your insured, I was physically incapable of safely driving a public passenger bus.

Adjusters are always skeptical of when a claimant misses more than a few days of work. Let them know you didn’t use your injury as an excuse to stay home from work. You were simply following doctor’s orders.


The following is a list of my medical bills and other financial losses. Enclosed please find the medical bills and receipts, and a letter from my employer confirming workdays missed and wages lost.

County Hospital


Dr. Romero


Physical Therapy


Out-of-Pocket Expenses


Lost Wages


Pain and Suffering


Total Damages



To compensate me for the physical pain, emotional distress, and the financial costs I sustained because of the negligence of your insured, I demand the total amount of $18,900 to resolve my injury claim.

Please respond within fifteen (15) business days. I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.

Yours truly,

Tammy Sherwood
Phone: 555-325-2395

If you decide to include an email address, use your personal email address instead of your work email. Your employer has legal access to correspondence and attachments in work emails.

Legal Help is Always Available

When you’ve invested the time to gather solid evidence and learn about settlement negotiations, you expect smooth sailing when you’re ready to discuss compensation.

Most injury claims settle after a few rounds of back-and-forth negotiations with the insurance adjuster. But despite the best preparations, sometimes negotiations break down.

It’s good to know you can consult an attorney at any point in the negotiations process.

You might end up with a hard-nosed adjuster who refuses to pay a fair amount, or a lazy adjuster who can’t be bothered to return your calls or letters.

Talk to an attorney about your options when negotiations fail. There’s no reason to settle for less when help is a phone call away.

Most injury attorneys don’t charge boating victims for their initial consultation. It costs nothing to find out what skilled personal injury can do for you.

Charles R. Gueli, Esq. is a personal injury attorney with over 20 years of legal experience. He’s admitted to the NY State Bar, and been named a Super Lawyer for the NY Metro area, an exclusive honor awarded to the top five percent of attorneys. Charles has worked extensively in the areas of auto accidents,... Read More >>