Sample Compensation Demand Letter After a Head-On Collision

Get help writing your compensation demand after a head-on collision with our sample demand letter and helpful writing tips.

Head-on collisions are the least common and most deadly type of motor vehicle accidents. They can happen day or night, at intersections, on country roads, or on multi-lane highways.

The vehicles in head-on collisions don’t have to be traveling at high speeds to result in catastrophic injuries.

Head-on car accidents can be caused by distracted or drowsy drivers, drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, slippery roads, or other factors. Every car accident injury claim is unique.

Claims involving severe or fatal injuries should be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney to get maximum compensation.

If you managed to survive a head-on collision with relatively minor injuries, you could probably settle your injury claim directly with the insurance company. All it takes is a little coaching on the personal injury claims process.

The negotiations phase of the claim process gets underway when you send a written demand for compensation.

Putting Together Your Demand Packet

A demand packet consists of a formal letter asking for compensation, copies of your evidence, and other documentation that proves your damages.

You’ll begin gathering important evidence immediately after the crash and throughout your recovery.

Critical evidence from a head-on crash might include:

Write the 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 “special damages” and “general damages.”

Special damages, also called “hard costs,” are expenses you can justify with copies of medical bills, receipts, and a lost wages statement from your employer.

General damages, like emotional distress, can’t be justified with a bill or receipt. However, there are other ways to account for pain and suffering.

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

Original, unmarked documents should go into your injury claim file. Make copies of all your bills, photographs, and other supporting evidence to include in your demand packet.

Write a Persuasive Demand Letter

You can write a demand letter that looks just as good as an attorney’s letter by paying attention to important details:

  • Check for spelling and grammar errors
  • Ensure the correct spelling of names and locations
  • Check your math to confirm dollar amounts are typed correctly
  • Print your letter on quality white bond paper
  • Sign the letter in black or blue ink

Your demand letter should include:

  • Facts: Give your version of what happened before and after the crash
  • Liability: Explain why the other driver is at fault for the collision
  • Injuries: Describe your injuries, pain and suffering, and how the crash impacted your life
  • Damages: An itemized list of your special and general damages

Make a copy of the signed letter and all the enclosures for your file. Mail your packet in a large enough envelope to hold all the pages without folding.

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

Sample Head-On Collision Demand Letter

Here we have a sample demand letter from the fictional victim of a head-on collision. Throughout the letter, you can open helpful hints we’ve provided to help you draft your own demand letter to an insurance company.

Our sample letter is intended to illustrate an injury claim filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you live in a no-fault insurance state, you must rely on your own auto policy to cover minor injury claims.

Property damage claims for vehicle repairs are typically processed separately from injury claims.

It bears repeating that you should never try to handle claims for serious or potentially permanent injuries without an attorney if you want to maximize your compensation.

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

Jessica Harris
137 Pueblo Road
Oakland, CA 95361

May 5, 2020

Traditional Insurance Company
1001 High Street
Columbus, OH 43527

Attn: Ted Smith

Your Insured: Marcus Newman

Re: Auto Collision on March 14, 2020

Insurance company paperwork may refer to the collision date as the “Loss Date,” “Date of Loss,” or “DOL.”

Claim Number:  CA003369

FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Including “For Settlement Purposes Only” at the top of your letter indicates that the details of your demand letter should not be used if you end up filing a lawsuit. You don’t want a jury to limit their thinking on the amount they might award to you.

Dear Mr. Smith:

As you know, I was seriously injured on March 14, 2020, at approximately 11:30 p.m., when your intoxicated insured suddenly crossed the center line with his Dodge Challenger and crashed head-on into my Volvo XC.

The collision happened on Yosemite Avenue in Oakdale, California.

Using words like “suddenly” and “crashed” is a more powerful way to express yourself. Avoid using the word “accident,” which implies no one was at fault.

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

I was driving home after work at the posted speed, obeying all traffic laws, and paying attention to the roadway and my surroundings. My headlights were on, and I was wearing my safety belt.

I was headed northbound on Yosemite Avenue. It was a clear Saturday night, and the roads were dry. I saw the headlights of an oncoming vehicle that appeared to be moving fast.

Suddenly, without warning, your insured’s vehicle crossed the center line into my lane of traffic. I immediately hit the brake, but there was no time to get out of the way before impact. There was nothing I could do to avoid the terrible collision.

State upfront that you didn’t do anything to cause the collision. The adjuster will use comparative fault laws as an excuse to reduce your compensation if they can pin some of the blame on you.

The collision resulted in friction burns to my face and arms, ongoing distress and anxiety, and a serious injury to my left knee that left me in terrible pain and unable to stand on it for several weeks.

I was treated for my injuries in the General Hospital emergency room, by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gillette, licensed clinical social worker Christine Biggs, and the Friendly Physical Therapy Clinic.

I am seeking compensation for the injury-related damages I sustained in the collision. Those damages include my medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and my pain and suffering.

Every injury claim is different. Injury claim damages might include medical bills, transportation expenses, replacement service costs, and much more.  

I want to make clear that I never asked for any of this to happen. Before March 14, 2020, I enjoyed an active life free from physical pain and anxiety. All that changed when your drunken insured slammed head-on into my car.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

On March 14, 2020, at around 11:30 p.m. I was heading home from my regular shift as a registered nurse at the Hillcrest Nursing Home. I was driving my 2018 Volvo XC northbound on Yosemite Avenue at the posted speed limit. It was a clear night, and the roads were dry. I was sober, alert, and wearing my seatbelt.

Your insured, Marcus Newman, was heading southbound in his 2019 Dodge Challenger. I saw his headlights coming toward me in the opposite lane but couldn’t anticipate that he would suddenly swerve into my lane of traffic and violently slam head-on into my vehicle.

I’ll never forget the horrifying sound of the crash and twisting metal. I heard screaming and later realized it was me.

The force of the impact was so great that the front and side airbags in my vehicle deployed, hitting me in the face and arms. They caused bruising and friction burns to my face and arms, but no doubt saved my life.

The front of my vehicle crumpled, and the engine was pushed back into the passenger compartment. My knees took the brunt of the impact. My left leg was pinned between the seat and the destroyed dashboard. I was in shock and in terrible pain.

Using descriptive language to paint a vivid word picture of your experience is a good way to be persuasive without exaggerating.

LIABILITY

Paul Shultz had also been driving southbound on Yosemite Avenue, behind Marcus Newman. As you can read in his enclosed statement, he had been following behind the Dodge Challenger for at least ten minutes before the crash and noticed the car erratically speeding up and slowing down and drifting from one side of the lane to the other.

Mr. Schultz stopped when he saw the Challenger abruptly swerve across the center line directly in front of my car and crash head-on into my Volvo. He called 911 then came running to check for injuries.

Mr. Shultz approached the driver’s side of the Dodge Challenger and found Marcus Newman unconscious but still breathing. Mr. Shultz said there was a strong odor of alcohol and marijuana, and there were empty beer bottles in the car.

Statements from independent witnesses are best because the witness has no interest in the outcome of your claim. If your only witnesses are friends or family, their testimony will still help your claim.

Several emergency responders soon arrived. The Oakland police investigated the collision and talked to Paul Schultz and other witnesses.

I was taken by ambulance to General hospital, and your insured was airlifted to the nearest Level I Trauma Center.

As you will see in the final version of the police crash report, your insured had a blood alcohol level well over the legal limit, and evidence of drug intoxication as well. Marcus Newman was issued multiple traffic citations for reckless driving, driving while under the influence, failing to yield the right-of-way, and failing to use reasonable care.

I was in no way responsible for the head-on collision caused by your insured.

Make sure you get the final version of the police report after a vehicle collision. Details about a driver’s drug use or blood alcohol levels are often added in a supplemental report.

INJURIES AND TREATMENT

The paramedics were able to stabilize my neck and spine and extricate me from the wreckage of my vehicle. Because of the severity of the collision, after conducting a neuro check and starting an IV, I was transported by ambulance to the General Hospital Level III Trauma Center.

I was thoroughly evaluated at General Hospital by Dr. Abram, including CT scans to my head, neck, abdomen, and pelvis. Because of the horrendous impact of the collision, the standard of care required imaging tests to check for neurological damage and internal injuries. I was extremely fortunate to have escaped life-threatening injuries.

My medical evaluation included extensive blood tests, in case I needed emergency surgery. As you can see from the enclosed lab report, there were no drugs or alcohol in my system at the time of the crash.

Because of the pain, swelling, and discoloration, an MRI was done to each knee. My right knee was badly bruised with a large hematoma formed over the patella.

The MRI revealed hematomas formed on and around my left knee and a partial dislocation of the knee. The knee was wrapped, and I was told to see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.

The ER doctor ordered no weight bearing on my left knee and prescribed Tramadol for pain. The friction burns on my face, and arms were cleaned and treated with topical antibiotic ointment.

You don’t have to be a nurse to study your medical records. Using medical terminology to describe your injuries and treatment adds credibility to your demand.

I was released from the emergency department to the care of my brother and sister-in-law. I live alone and was unable to care for myself, so I was unable to return home until I could stand on at least one leg long enough to get around my apartment.

Because I was too banged up to use crutches, I had to be pushed in a wheelchair for several days. My sister-in-law had to help me bathe, dress, and get to and from the bathroom. I needed this help until I could bear the pain of standing on my right leg, to be able to pivot from the chair to the toilet or bed.

Two days after the crash, I saw the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gillette. After reviewing the MRI and examining my knees, he concurred with the diagnosis of deep bruising on both knees and a mild dislocation of my left knee. Dr. Gillette said I could avoid surgery by staying off the left knee entirely for the next two weeks, followed by a month of gradual weight-bearing and physical therapy.

I had a follow-up visit in two weeks with Dr. Gillette, who then ordered four weeks of physical therapy. It was a painful and difficult recovery, but I was determined to do everything I needed to do to get my life back.

Following the crash, I began to have nightmares and increased anxiety. The first time I was in a car after dark, the sight of headlights coming from opposing traffic threw me into a full-blown panic attack, even though I wasn’t driving.

As you’ll see in his notes, I told Dr. Gillette about my fear and anxiety. He referred me for mental health treatment with a counselor located in the same medical office building as my physical therapy clinic.

It’s common for accident victims to experience serious negative emotional effects after a car crash. Don’t hesitate to describe these symptoms in detail, and ask for adequate compensation for your mental anguish. 

I saw Christine Biggs, LCSW, twice weekly for six weeks for counseling to help me work through the fears and anxiety, then down to once weekly. Now I see Ms. Biggs every three to four weeks as needed to help me deal with the helplessness and fear your insured caused when he slammed head-on into my car with no warning. A copy of Ms. Biggs’ care summary is enclosed.

I was released to return to work six weeks after being hit by your insured.

WORK HISTORY

I have been employed as a full-time registered nurse at the Hillcrest Nursing Home for five years. I’ve had an excellent attendance record until I was injured by your insured. I worked hard to become a registered nurse, and I love my job.

As a nurse in a long-term care facility, I’m responsible for passing medications, giving skilled care, and aiding in the bedside care of fragile patients. In the event of an emergency, I would need to be physically capable of evacuating non-ambulatory patients. I could not return to work until I could walk unaided by crutches.

Because your insured elected to drink and drive, I was out of work with no income for six weeks. I was already stressed and anxious because of the crash. I was further humiliated and depressed when I had to borrow money from family and friends to pay my bills.

Describe how your injuries prevented you from performing the physical demands of your job. This shows you weren’t malingering or trying to avoid going to work.

DAMAGES

The following is a list of my medical bills and other financial damages. Copies of my bills, receipts, and other proof of losses are enclosed.

Oakland Rescue Squad

$600

General Hospital

$6,800

Dr. Gillette

$800

Friendly Physical Therapy

$3,500

C. Biggs, LCSW

$3,200

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

$300

Pain and Suffering

$30,400

Total Damages

$45,600

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 $45,600 to resolve my personal injury claim.

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

Sincerely,

Jessica Harris
jessh@example.com
555-325-2351

Protect your privacy by using your home email address. Employers have legal access to anything you send or receive with your work email.

Know When to Call an Attorney

When you have good evidence of the other driver’s liability and know how to avoid negotiating mistakes, you’re in a good position to settle your injury claim on your own.

Unfortunately, it’s possible you could end up with a belligerent adjuster who won’t approve your medical bills. Or maybe you get an unresponsive adjuster who tries to stall until the statute of limitations runs out. There are numerous potential problems you could run into while negotiating a settlement.

If the statutory deadline runs out, you forfeit your right to pursue compensation, so don’t wait until the last minute to consult an attorney about your injury claim.

No matter what’s holding up your settlement, get the legal advice you need to protect your interests.

Most attorneys don’t charge car accident victims for their first consultation. It costs nothing to find out what a good attorney can do for you.

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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 >>