Get help demanding compensation after a car accident caused by cell phone use. Here’s a sample letter and helpful tips for writing an effective demand.
It’s no surprise that more and more auto accidents involve drivers distracted by their cell phones. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you deserve fair compensation for your losses.
Minor injury claims in no-fault insurance states will be paid by the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in your auto policy.
In no-fault states, you can’t get compensation from the other driver’s insurance company unless your injuries are severe enough to exceed the state’s “injury threshold.”
No matter what state you’re in, severe injury claims should be handled by a personal injury attorney to ensure the best outcome.
In regular “fault” states, you can probably settle a minor injury claim directly with the insurance company, so long as you spend a little time learning about the injury claim settlement process.
Active negotiations with the insurance adjuster begin when you send a formal written demand for compensation.
Learn more about How to Write a Compensation Demand Letter.
Assembling a Complete Demand Packet
A demand packet includes a formal letter asking for compensation, evidence of the other driver’s fault, and documentation of your damages.
Important evidence after a car accident includes:
Before writing your demand letter, you’ll need to calculate the value of your injury claim. You’ll do this by gathering documentation of your “special damages” and “general damages.”
General damages, like emotional distress and mental anguish, can’t be measured with a bill or receipt. However, there are other ways to justify the amount you seek for pain and suffering.
Original documents should go into your personal injury claim file. Make copies of all your bills, photographs, and other supporting evidence to include in your demand packet.
Write a Convincing Demand Letter
With a little attention to detail, you can write a letter just as effective as one prepared by an attorney’s office.
- Check for spelling and grammar errors
- Confirm the correct spelling of names and locations
- Double-check your math and make sure dollar amounts are correct
- Print your letter on quality white bond paper
- Sign the letter in black or blue ink
Your demand letter should include:
- Facts: A detailed description of what happened before and after the crash
- Liability: Explain the evidence of the other driver’s fault
- Injuries: Describe your injuries, treatment, and how the crash impacted your life
- Damages: An accounting of your special and general damages
Make a copy of the complete packet for your file. Have your copy of the packet in front of you when it comes time to discuss your demand with the adjuster.
Send the letter by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested. When the green card comes back, attach it to your copy of the demand letter.
Sample Cell Phone Accident Demand Letter
We’ve created a sample demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company with helpful hints you can use while drafting your own letter. This sample is from the victim of a fictional car accident caused by a driver who ran a red light while talking on her cell phone.
Most property damage claims are handled separately, so our sample demand letter focuses on the victim’s injury claim.
Click the buttons for hints to help with writing your demand letter.
201 Elm Street
Lakeview, MN 55407
July 23, 2020
Classic Insurance Company
1010 High Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Attn: Ted Smith
Your Insured: Crystal Evans
Re: Auto Collision on May 12, 2020
Claim Number: MNA000937
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
Dear Mr. Smith:
As you know, I was seriously injured on May 12, 2020, at around 5:30 p.m., when your insured ran a red light and crashed her Ford Fiesta into the side of my Dodge Journey. The collision happened at the intersection of Holyoke Avenue and 207th Street in Lakeview.
If not for the negligence of your insured, Crystal Evans, I would not have suffered my injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
On the day of the collision, I was driving home, heading north on Holyoke Avenue. I was wearing my seatbelt and obeying all traffic laws. I was alert and paying attention to my surroundings. The day was clear, and the roads were dry. Crystal Evans was headed east on 207th Street while talking on her hand-held cell phone.
As I approached the intersection of Holyoke and 207th Street, I stopped for a red light. When the light turned green, I began to proceed through the intersection, still heading north on Holyoke.
Suddenly, without warning, the Fiesta driven by Crystal Evans came flying through the intersection and crashed into the rear passenger side of my vehicle, forcing my car into a terrifying spin.
Your insured blew through the red light on 207th Street, violently colliding with my vehicle. There was nothing I could do to prevent the crash. I was injured by the negligence of your insured, through no fault of my own.
I suffered a brain concussion and a severely strained left shoulder. I had contusions and bruises to my face, shoulder, arm, and body. I was out of work for three weeks.
I never asked for any of this to happen. Before the collision, I had a full and busy work and home life, free of pain and discomfort. All that changed on May 12, 2020, when Crystal Evens was too busy talking on her cell phone to pay attention to the traffic signals.
Because of your insured’s negligence, I have suffered ongoing pain, distress, and financial losses.
I am seeking compensation for the injury-related damages I sustained in the collision. Those damages include my medical bills, lost wages, related out-of-pocket expenses, and my pain and suffering.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On May 12, 2020, at approximately 5:30 p.m., I was northbound on Holyoke Avenue in Lakewood, Minnesota. I had stopped for a red light at the intersection of 207th Street. When my light turned green, I proceeded straight through the intersection.
Your insured, Crystal Evans, was talking on her hand-held cell phone while traveling east on 207th Street in Lakeview. Distracted by her cell phone, your insured didn’t even slow down as she went through the red light and slammed into the side of my Dodge.
The front end of Evans’ car collided with the passenger side of my vehicle, just behind the passenger compartment, that sent my vehicle into a spin.
The force of the collision caused my head and shoulder to slam into the driver’s side window violently. The impact brutally threw my head and body forward and back, and from side to side. I was dazed, shocked, and in pain when my vehicle stopped spinning.
When the police and rescue squad arrived, I was lifted out of my vehicle and strapped to a backboard. I was dazed and frightened, and my head and shoulder hurt terribly. The paramedics took me to Mercy Hospital.
Raymond Armstrong had been driving his plumbing truck east on 207th Street and was stopped in the turn lane at the red light waiting to turn left on Holyoke Avenue. He saw Crystal Evens fly past him in her Fiesta and slam into the side of my vehicle in the intersection.
Raymond Armstrong saw Crystal Evans holding a cell phone to her left ear as she ignored the red light and continued into the intersection, where she hit me. A copy of Mr. Armstrong’s statement is enclosed.
Another witness, Amelia Fleming, had been driving her car behind mine as I entered the intersection. She confirms in her statement that I had the green light when I entered the intersection. Ms. Fleming says that when she saw the Fiesta and realized the driver wasn’t stopping, she hit her brakes and narrowly missed being involved in the collision. Ms. Fleming put on her flashers and called 911.
The accident was investigated by a senior officer with the County Sheriff’s Department. Crystal Evans admitted she was talking on her phone when the crash occurred. After reviewing the evidence and talking to eyewitnesses, your insured was found to be at fault for the collision.
As you can see in the police report, Crystal Evans was ticketed for using a hand-held cell phone while driving, failing to obey the traffic signal, and reckless driving. The police report also shows that I did nothing wrong.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
After the paramedics treated me at the scene and put me on a backboard, I was taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital. Because of the shock and concussion, I threw up in the ambulance. I was so miserable and embarrassed, I cried.
The police notified my husband of the crash. After picking up our children from daycare and taking them to his mother’s house, he rushed to the hospital to be at my side.
At Mercy hospital, the emergency room physician, Dr. Abraham, ordered CT scans of my head, neck, and shoulder. I was also checked out for internal injuries because the seat belts and shoulder harness had left deep bruises on my chest and belly.
Dr. Abraham diagnosed me with a brain concussion and a severely strained left shoulder. I had contusions and bruises to my face, shoulder, arm, and body. My shoulder was immobilized by a sling-type bandage that kept my arm next to my side.
Later that night, I was allowed to go home. My husband was counseled on concussion protocol, and I was told to see my primary care provider as soon as possible.
It was so late that we left our children with their grandmother for the night, as they were already asleep at her house. When we got home, my husband had to help me get out of my soiled clothes and wash the vomit from my hair. I was in pain, exhausted, and humiliated for him to see me like that.
I had a terrible night full of pain and nightmares. You have no idea what it’s like to feel intense pain and hear the horrific sounds of tearing metal, all while helplessly spinning out of control. I thought I was going to die before I could say goodbye to the love of my life and our two babies.
The next day my husband drove me to see our primary care provider, Dr. Hopkins. The doctor examined me, reviewed the hospital tests, and confirmed that I suffered a concussion and severely strained shoulder.
He ordered me not to lift anything with my left hand or arm and to keep the sling on for at least another week. Because of the concussion, I was to rest quietly and avoid bending over. I was allowed to use over-the-counter pain relievers for the shoulder pain and headaches. He wanted to see me again in a week and ordered me to stay home from work.
At my follow-up appointment, I still had signs of concussion, including headaches, light sensitivity, and occasional nausea. The shoulder was improving; however Dr. Hopkins explained I needed two weeks of physical therapy to gradually restore the range of motion to my shoulder and arm.
I was not released to return to my job until after I completed my physical therapy. By then, the concussion symptoms had eased up, although I still have headaches every few days. As you can see in the doctor’s notes, Dr. Hopkins said it could take a full year before I feel as well as I did before the collision.
I missed three weeks of work because of your insured.
I have been a teller at Fidelity Bank in Lakeview for nearly five years. I had an excellent attendance record until your insured negligently crashed into my car. I’ve rarely missed unscheduled time from work.
Enclosed is a letter from my employer showing the scheduled hours I missed and my regular rate of pay. It was hard to be out of work and difficult to be at home with physical limitations. We had to have extra help from our families.
I was in no condition to do any projects or chores and couldn’t even pick up our one and three-year-old daughters.
I was stressed over the loss of income and anxious about the effect on my babies. They couldn’t understand why Mommy wouldn’t pick them up or give them their baths, or a hundred little things you don’t think about until you can’t do them.
The lack of good sleep made it all worse. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop having nightmares about that horrible crash.
The following is a list of my medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses related to my injuries and treatment, and the wages I lost while recovering. Copies of the bills and other proof of my losses are enclosed.
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 $25,950 to resolve my personal injury claim.
Please respond within fifteen (15) business days. I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
Legal Help Is Always Available
Most minor injury claims settle after a few rounds of offers and counteroffers with the adjuster, but sometimes complications arise.
In our sample letter, the victim had eyewitness testimony to prove the at-fault driver was talking on a cell phone at the time of the crash. In your case, you might not have easy access to convincing evidence of the other driver’s fault, or the adjuster might be trying to pin some of the blame on you.
It’s important to know that you have the right to consult an attorney at any point in the negotiations process.
An attorney has the legal tools and knowledge to overcome many of the obstacles to a fair settlement. For example, an attorney can subpoena the other driver’s cell phone records or seek discovery of traffic signal cameras. You’d have a very hard time getting that kind of evidence on your own.
Don’t be bullied into accepting a low-ball settlement offer. Get the legal help you need.
Most injury attorneys don’t charge car accident victims for their initial consultation, and only take a fee if they recover money for you. It costs nothing to find out what a good attorney can do for you.
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