How to Write an Effective Personal Injury Demand Letter to the Insurance Company

Start your injury claim negotiations with an effective compensation demand to the insurance company. Sound like a pro with our letter template and helpful tips.

The most common types of personal injury claims include car accidents, slip and falls, and dog bites. In most cases, the victim’s claim is settled by the at-fault party’s insurance company.

If you’ve been severely injured, or your claim might be complicated, you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to deal with the insurance company. Examples of complicated injury claims can include medical malpractice, injuries to children, or multiple at-fault parties.

When you’ve recovered from relatively minor injuries, you can probably negotiate your personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company on your own.

The negotiation phase of an injury claim begins when you make a written demand for compensation to the insurance company. We give you the help and examples you need to write an effective and professional-looking letter for your demand packet.

Preparing a Strong Demand Packet

A good demand packet consists of a carefully crafted demand letter and enclosed copies of your supporting documentation.

Before writing your demand letter, you’ll need to calculate your injury claim value and organize important evidence you’ll be submitting to support your claim.

Important evidence for your claim includes:

Take some letter-writing tips from attorneys:

  • Check your spelling and grammar, especially names and addresses
  • Use high-quality white bond paper
  • Sign your full name in black or blue ink

Your complete packet could contain as many as twenty or thirty pages, so you’ll need to use a letter-sized envelope to hold the packet without folding the pages. Send the letter by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested.

Make a copy of the full packet for your records. It’s important to have your copy of the packet in front of you when you’re negotiating with the adjuster, so you can literally “stay on the same page.”

When the certified mail green card comes back to you, confirming delivery, attach the card to your copy of the demand letter.

Keep your copy of the notification letter and your demand packet along with other important paperwork organized in your injury claim file.

Components of a Formal Demand Letter

A good demand letter follows an orderly progression that tells the insurance company who you are, how you were injured, the damages you sustained, who should pay for your damages, and the amount of money you demand for compensation.

Letter Heading: The heading will have information about you, the insured, the claim, and the reason for your letter.

Presentation of Facts: In the body of the letter, layout your facts clearly and concisely. After the salutation, begin by explaining the events that led up to your injuries. Then give a step-by-step description of the events that came together to cause the accident. Provide as much detail as you can.

To avoid any technical arguments from the adjuster, you can use “approximate” language. For example, instead of saying, “Thursday at 4:03 pm,” you’d say, “Thursday at about 4 pm.” This prevents the insurance company from denying your claim due to an incorrect time.

Taking good notes after an injury accident and throughout your recovery will be a tremendous help when it’s time to demand compensation.

Description of Damages: The next step in your injury demand letter is an accounting of your damages. These include your hard costs, called “special damages” and your intangible losses, called “general damages.”

Write this as if you were walking the adjuster through every step along your road to recovery. Clearly relate the levels of pain and discomfort you experienced.

Hard costs are damages you can prove with tangible evidence, like medical bills, lost wage statements, and receipts for medications.

Intangible losses can’t be objectively measured, so you’ll need to use vivid and descriptive language. This is the part of the demand letter where you emphasize the pain, suffering, and emotional distress you experienced, often called “general damages.”

Include specific details that show how your life was altered, such as canceling a vacation or an important business trip, or not being able to attend an important family event.

Relate how the effects of prescription medication or the injuries themselves prohibited you from normal daily functions, and how you had to rely upon others. You can even describe relationships that were strained due to the limitations of your injuries.

In addition to listing your tangible and intangible damages, communicate to the adjuster that:

  • You never asked for these injuries and all the resulting problems
  • You had neither the time nor the desire to be laid up for weeks, having to miss work and endure constant pain
  • You loathe the emotional toll the accident has taken on your relationships with your spouse and children.

Liability: Although it may be understood between you and the adjuster, never take the insured’s liability for granted. In this part of the letter, you have to bring all the facts together to show that your injuries happened because of the insured’s negligence, and through no fault of your own.

Compensation: Personal injury claims ultimately come down to money. Your next step in the demand letter is to detail the specific amounts of money you’re demanding for all your special damages and general damages.

Closing: The closing paragraph should end by thanking the adjuster for their attention and placing a time limit on their response.

Compensation Demand Letter Template

Click the buttons for helpful tips on writing your demand letter.

[YOUR FULL NAME]
[YOUR STREET]
[YOUR CITY, STATE, ZIP]

[DATE OF LETTER]

Date the letter the same day you mail it, just as if the letter were coming from an attorney’s office. Notice dates are an important part of your injury claim timeline.

[INSURANCE COMPANY NAME]
[INSURANCE COMPANY STREET]
[INSURANCE COMPANY CITY, STATE, ZIP]

Attn: [Insurance Adjuster Name]

Add the adjuster’s job title (like Senior Adjuster or Claims Manager) if you know it. Otherwise, the name alone is just fine.

Your Insured: [AT-FAULT PARTY NAME]

[AT FAULT PARTY STREET]
[AT-FAULT PARTY CITY, STATE, ZIP]

Claim Number: [CLAIM NUMBER]

Use the correct claim number for your injury claim. You might have two claim numbers if you’re also making a property damage claim, like after a car accident.

Re: [TYPE OF CLAIM] injury on [DATE OF INCIDENT]

Name the type of incident and the date it happened, such as “Auto Accident on February 12, 2020”

FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Using the phrase “For Settlement Purposes Only” means that if your settlement negotiations fail, the letter cannot be used as evidence in court.

Dear [Claims Adjuster Name]:

As you know, on [DATE OF INJURY] at approximately [TIME OF DAY], I was injured by a [TYPE OF CLAIM] that happened at [LOCATION] through no fault of my own.

If not for the negligence of your insured, [AT-FAULT PARTY NAME], I would not have suffered my injuries and subsequent lost wages, and pain and suffering.

My doctors say I’ve reached a level of maximum medical improvement. I still have painful symptoms that may continue into the future. However, I’ve decided to bring this matter to a conclusion with a reasonable and equitable settlement of my injury claim.

Background: [DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO YOUR INJURIES]

Don’t exaggerate, but use vivid language to describe the fear, embarrassment, and other forms of emotional distress you experienced from the incident.

Injuries: [LIST YOUR INJURIES]

Describe your injuries using medical terms taken from the doctor’s notes in your medical records.

Liability: [EXPLAIN WHY THE INSURED IS LIABLE FOR YOUR INJURIES]

Use the four elements of negligence to build your argument that the at-fault party is financially responsible for your damages.

Damages: [LIST ALL HARD COSTS AND GENERAL DAMAGES]

Provide a breakdown and sub-total of your hard costs, followed by a sub-total of your pain and suffering, for a full total of your compensation demand.

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 [DOLLAR AMOUNT] to resolve my claim.

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

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

Type your full name at the end of your letter, with room above for your signature.

[YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER]
[YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS]

Use your personal email address rather than your work email. Your employer has legal access to your email correspondence and attachments.

Enclosures

Sample Car Accident Injury Demand Letter

Here we use a fictional auto accident scenario to show how you can personalize our demand letter template.

David Smith
1234 Main Street
Jericho, TX 12345

August 26, 2020

Classic Insurance Company
101 High Street, Suite 16
New York, NY 10002

Attn: Brad Dormer

Your Insured: Sidney Wood
16 Big Sky Lane
Shady, TX 12456

Re: Auto Collision on August 23, 2020

Claim Number:  XYZ000097

FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Dear Mr. Dormer:

As you know, on August 23, 2020, I was severely injured when your insured failed to stop at a red traffic signal and violently crashed into my car.

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

My doctors say I’ve reached a level of maximum medical improvement. I still suffer from the aftermath of the car crash. However, I’ve decided to bring this matter to a conclusion with a reasonable and equitable settlement of my injury claim.

Background: On August 23, 2020, at about 7:15 a.m., I was driving my 2018 Honda Accord northbound on Magnolia Street. At all times, I was paying attention to the road, traffic signals, and other vehicles in my line of sight. I was also wearing my seatbelt.

As I approached the intersection of Magnolia Street and Orchid Avenue, I could see the traffic light was clearly green in my favor. As I passed through the light, suddenly and without warning, your insured violently collided with the front left quarter panel of my Honda. The severe force of the impact spun my car completely around.

My injuries: The immediate force of the impact:

  • Snapped my neck violently causing severe whiplash
  • Severely sprained the tendons in my right wrist
  • Lacerated my forehead and the skin above my left cheekbone

It took emergency services over 15 minutes to respond to the scene. During that time, I laid in my car, bleeding profusely, and in severe pain. When the paramedics arrived, they treated me at the scene and transported me to the emergency room at Mailer General Hospital.

The emergency room physicians ordered MRIs of my head and neck, and x-rays of my right arm to determine the extent of trauma from the violent crash. I was diagnosed with a severe flexion injury to the cervical area of my spine, deep muscle bruising to my left arm and shoulder, and lacerations to my face. The gashes on my face were closed with special glue and bandage strips to avoid further scarring.

Mentioning that your medical records indicate there could be some permanent scarring might give you some additional leverage during negotiations with the adjuster.

Since the day of the collision, I have endured months of pain and stiffness and significant impairment to my activities of daily living.

As you can see in the enclosed photographs, my face was so cut, swollen, and bruised I was hardly recognizable. I looked so bad when my wife walked into the emergency room; she burst into tears.

Always take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible after the incident and throughout your recovery. Pictures are compelling evidence of the scope and severity of your injuries.

Because my physicians prohibited me from working, I’ve also lost thousands of dollars in income. I’ve worked at the Able Construction Company for 16 years as a carpenter. My job requires me to be able to carry materials while climbing ladders, stand and bend freely, and safely use power tools.

As you can see in the medical notes, my doctor would not allow me to stand for more than an hour or carry more than five pounds. My doctor could not clear me to climb ladders or do other physical aspects of my job for more than three weeks because of my physical pain and limited range of motion.

Always point to the medical records to support your wage loss claims and describe how your injuries affected your ability to do your job.

My recovery period has been long and agonizing. I haven’t been able to sleep without pain for months. The constant pain and lack of sleep have made me depressed. The pain medication I’ve had to take makes me dizzy and slow. I wasn’t allowed to drive for several weeks because I couldn’t turn my head. The tension from not being able to provide income for my family has negatively impacted my marriage and relationship with my children.

Using vivid language to describe how your injuries have affected every area of your life will help support the pain and suffering part of your demand.

Your Insured’s Liability: Your insured’s exclusive liability is clear. From the police report and witness statements, your insured failed to stop at the red traffic light on Orchid Street. Witnesses said he was texting on his cell phone, and when questioned by the police, your insured admitted he was.

Police reports and witness statements are compelling evidence that point to auto accident liability.

The police officers issued your insured a traffic citation for failing to stop at a red light. Your insured’s actions were the direct cause of the collision and my injuries.

Proving liability includes showing that the at-fault party’s actions (or failure to do what what they were supposed to do) is the only reason for your injuries.

My Damages: As a result of the violent collision, I have incurred the following damages:

Ambulance

$300

Emergency room treatment

$700

Medical Treatment

$4,500

Physical Therapy

$1,500

Bandages, Neck Brace

$120

Medications

$80

Lost wages

$2,800

Total Special Damages

$10,000

Emotional distress

Loss of consortium

Pain and Suffering

Total General Damages:

$20,000

Total Damages:

$30,000

Insurance companies typically resist paying for general damages with soft-tissue injuries like whiplash claims. Starting off asking for twice your hard costs gives you some room for negotiating pain and suffering.

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 $30,000 to resolve my claim.

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

Sincerely,

David Smith
davesmith@example.com
Cell: (555) 882-1009

Enclosures

Handling the Response to Your Demand

You can expect the claims adjuster to respond to your demand packet by telephone or in writing. Depending on the negotiation style of the adjuster, the response can range from:

  • A short acknowledgment of your packet that leaves you hanging
  • A sympathetic reaction to your injuries, pain and suffering
  • An attack on the credibility of your damages that’s rude and insulting

Negotiations are the toughest part of handling an insurance claim, and you won’t know how it’s going to go until you make your demand for compensation. You must stay on your toes when dealing with insurance adjusters.

Typically, they’ll say they can’t pay anything near your demand, and they’ll counter with a low-ball settlement offer. You’ll respond with an amount slightly lower than your original demand. After a few more rounds of back-and-forth, you’ll reach a compromise settlement agreement.

Getting Help From an Attorney

When you aren’t sure how much to compromise, or negotiations break down, it’s important to know help is always available.

You have the right to consult a personal injury attorney at any point in the negotiations process. Sometimes, getting an attorney involved is all it takes to get the adjuster to offer a fair settlement. Most injury attorneys don’t charge for their initial consultation.

There’s no good reason to settle for less compensation than you deserve for your injuries. It costs nothing to find out what an experienced attorney can do for you.

Video: How to Write a Personal Injury Demand Letter

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