Sample Personal Injury Demand Letter for a Side-Impact Collision

Use our sample demand letter and helpful hints to write your own demand for injury compensation after a side-impact collision.

Side-impact vehicle collisions, also called “T-bone” or “broadside” accidents, often result in severe or fatal injuries to the occupants of both vehicles.

Side-impact collisions usually happen at intersections when the at-fault driver fails to stop for a traffic signal or stop sign.

When a negligent driver crashes into the side of your car, you have a right to expect the driver or their insurance company to pay for your losses.

Severe or fatal injury claims should be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure maximum compensation.

If you were lucky enough to survive a side-impact collision with relatively mild injuries, you could probably settle your insurance claim on your own.

If you live in a no-fault insurance state, you’ll have to rely on your own insurance company to cover minor injuries. Otherwise, you’ll make your injury claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

The negotiations phase of your car accident claim begins with a formal demand for compensation.

Assembling a Complete Demand Packet

Gathering good evidence after an auto accident is critical to the success of your injury claim. Evidence to help prove the other driver’s fault might include:

You’ll also need to calculate the settlement value of your injury claim by totaling your “special damages” and “general damages.”

Special damages, also called “hard costs,” are expenses you can account for with copies of your medical bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and a wage loss statement if your injuries kept you from working.

General damages are non-monetary losses that are more difficult to calculate. There are no objective measurements for things like emotional distress and pain and suffering. Fortunately, there are other ways to validate your claim for pain and suffering.

Keep original photographs, documents, and correspondence in your injury claim file.

Make copies of your bills, receipts, and supporting evidence to enclose with your compensation demand letter.

Writing a Persuasive Demand Letter

With some attention to detail, you can prepare a demand letter that looks just as good as one drafted by an attorney’s office:

  • Double-check spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Verify the spelling of names and locations
  • Check your math and confirm dollar amounts are typed correctly
  • Print your demand letter on quality white bond paper
  • Sign your letter in blue or black ink

Your demand letter should include:

  • Statement of Facts:  Describe everything that happened before, during, and after the crash
  • Liability: Point out the evidence showing the other driver caused the collision
  • Injuries: Describe your injuries and how the crash impacted your life
  • Damages: A list of the dollar amounts of your special and general damages

After signing the letter, make a copy of the complete packet for your file.

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 Side-Impact Collision Demand Letter

See how we crafted a demand letter from a fictional side-impact accident victim. We’ve included hints that can help you prepare your demand letter.

Since insurance claims for property damage are typically settled separately, our sample demand letter only concerns the victim’s personal injury claim.

Click the buttons for hints about writing your demand letter. 

Jacob O’Neil
2014 Spruce Street.
Richmond, VA 23173

June 23, 2020

Sinclair Insurance Company
369 Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43527

Attn: Thomas Schuster

Your Insured: Irving James

Re: Auto Collision on February 10, 2020

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

Claim Number:  BIC000937

FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY

Adding “For Settlement Purposes Only” to your letter indicates your compensation demand cannot be used as evidence in litigation. You might ask for a different amount of money if your claim goes to court.

Dear Mr. Shuster:

As you know, I was seriously injured on February 10, 2020, at approximately 5:30 p.m., when your insured crashed his 2019 Ford Explorer into the side of my 2017 Honda Accord. The collision happened at the intersection of Westwood Avenue and Lamont Street in Richmond, Virginia.

Use words like “crashed” and “collision” to vividly describe the incident. Avoid using the word “accident,” which implies no one was at fault.

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

I was driving home on Westwood Avenue, obeying all traffic laws, and paying attention to traffic and my surroundings. I was wearing my seatbelt. The roads were clear and dry, and I was traveling with my headlights on.

As I approached the Lamont Street intersection, I had a green light and proceeded through the intersection. Suddenly, without warning, Irving James came barreling through the intersection in his Ford Explorer and violently slammed into the passenger side of my car.

Irving James ran a red light and hit my car. There was nothing I could do to avoid the collision. I was injured in the crash caused by your insured through no fault of my own.

It’s important to establish from the start that you didn’t do anything to cause the crash. Jurisdictions like Virginia have pure contributory negligence laws that mean your claim can be denied if you share any blame for the collision.

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 when Irving James crashed into my car on February 10, 2020. Because of your insured’s negligence, I have suffered ongoing pain, distress, and financial losses.

The collision left me with a broken nose, a brain concussion, and a severely sprained left wrist. I was out of work for five weeks.

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.

Damages included in injury claims can include medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses such as medications, travel costs to treatment, replacement services like lawn care, and more.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

On February 10, 2020, around 5:30 p.m., I was traveling northbound on Westwood Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. At the same time, your insured was traveling west on Lamont Street.

As I approached the Lamont Street intersection, I had a green light and continued through the intersection. Irving James ignored the red light on Lamont street and came barreling through the intersection in his Ford Explorer.

The Explorer crashed into the front right quarter panel on the passenger side of my Honda Accord. The force of the collision spun my Honda Accord around in a circle. My head smashed into my driver’s side window. The airbags inflated, breaking my nose, and abruptly twisting my left hand and wrist.

I was barely conscious when I heard people knocking on my window, asking me if I was OK. I was bleeding profusely from my forehead and nose. My left wrist was in severe pain. Someone called 911, and a few minutes later the police and paramedics arrived on the scene.

Paramedics braced my neck, cut me out of my seatbelt, and strapped me to a backboard before rushing me to the nearest hospital.

LIABILITY

The Richmond police thoroughly investigated the collision and had my car towed. After talking to witnesses and evaluating the scene, the police determined that your insured was solely responsible for causing the collision that resulted in my injuries.

As you can see in the enclosed police crash report, your insured Irving James was ticketed for running a red light and failing to yield the right of way.

Because the police are trained accident investigators, the police report is valuable evidence of the other driver’s liability for the crash.

Until the collision, I had never met the two witnesses who gave statements at the scene. The witnesses are Mary Carotene and Paul Soruibu. Copies of the witness statements are enclosed.

Ms. Carotene stated, “I was driving east on Lamont Street and had stopped for the red light at Westwood Avenue. I watched as the Honda started across, then saw the Explorer crash into the Honda. It was a terrible crash. The Honda started spinning from the impact. I thought my car was about to be hit, but it wasn’t. I turned on my emergency flashers and called 911.”

Paul Soruibu stated, “I was traveling behind the Honda Accord when suddenly I saw the Ford Explorer come out of nowhere and crash into the car (Honda Accord) in front of me. It was a violent collision. The force of the impact caused the Honda to spin around. I got out of my car and ran up to the Honda. The man was badly injured and bleeding from his head and nose. A lady hollered over that an ambulance was on the way.”

Independent witness statements carry more weight because the witness has no personal interest in the outcome of your claim. However, if your only witnesses are friends or family members, their testimony can still help your case.

INJURIES AND TREATMENT

The paramedics took me to the emergency department at Richmond General Hospital. I was evaluated by the trauma physician on duty, Dr. Amir.

I was bloodied, bruised, in terrible pain, and dazed by the crash. I had lacerations to my forehead, lacerations and bleeding from my nose,  bruising and swelling to my face, especially around my nose and eyes, as well as discoloration and swelling to my left arm and wrist. My chest and belly were bruised from the force of my body against the seatbelt and shoulder belt.

The police had contacted my wife, who rushed to the hospital. When she walked into the emergency room, I looked so bad she burst into tears.

Dr. Amir ordered CT scans of my head, neck, and abdomen to look for fractures and internal injuries. After they confirmed I didn’t have a skull fracture or brain bleed, I had x-rays to my left wrist and arm.

I was diagnosed with a nasal fracture, brain concussion, and a severe ligament sprain to my left wrist. I also suffered two black eyes, and deep bruising to my left shoulder, and across my torso where my body was slammed against the seat belt and shoulder harness during the collision.

The lacerations to my forehead were cleaned and closed with steri-strips. My nose was packed and taped. My wrist was wrapped, splinted, and put in a sling. I was instructed to use acetaminophen for pain. The doctor didn’t want to give me anything stronger because of brain trauma. My wife and I were instructed in concussion protocol.

After eight hours in the emergency room, I was allowed to go home with instructions to see my primary care doctor as soon as possible.

Study your medical records, especially the doctor’s notes, and use correct medical terminology so you can discuss your injuries with confidence.

I could barely sleep when we made it home, and my wife helped me to bed. After finally dozing off, the next morning I awoke in agonizing pain. My left arm was swollen and bruised. My nose and forehead ached, and I had a splitting headache. I was feeling queasy, but my wife got me to try some tea and toast before giving me some extra-strength Tylenol.

My wife let my employer know I’d been in a car crash and wouldn’t be into work. She contacted our family physician, Dr. Smythe, and got me a same-day appointment.

I was sick, dizzy, and in pain. My wife had to help me to the bathroom, then washed me up as best she could. I was in no condition to get in the shower, shave, or shampoo the blood out of my hair.

My wife had to help me get into a loose shirt and some sweatpants, tie my shoes, and then help me into the car to see my doctor. Because I couldn’t get my coat on over my injured wrist and sore arm, it was draped over my shoulders. I was hurting so bad I was afraid I was going to throw up in the car. I had to cover my eyes because the sunlight was making my headache so much worse.

Make sure the adjuster knows how much pain you were in. Using descriptive language helps convey the amount of suffering you endured.

Dr. Smythe confirmed the diagnosis of brain concussion, nasal fracture, and ligament damage to my left wrist. As you’ll see in her notes, Dr. Smythe could see I was in a lot of pain but was reluctant to give me strong pain medication because of the concussion. She suggested I alternate ibuprofen with the acetaminophen but cautioned me not to take it on an empty stomach.

Dr. Smythe removed the packing from my nose and replaced the splinting bandage. She advised it would take at least ten days before the swelling would go down enough the determine if I would need surgery. She also cleaned the area around the laceration to my forehead, leaving the steri-strips in place.

Dr. Smythe told me to rest and keep my left wrist elevated and advised me not to drive. I was to continue to wear the brace and avoid using my left hand for at least four weeks to prevent further damage to the ligaments.

She saw me weekly to check on the concussion symptoms and my broken nose. While I did not have to endure surgery to repair my broken nose, it was a full five weeks after the accident before my injuries were healed enough that Dr. Smythe released me to return to my job as a package delivery driver.

I suffered terrible headaches and pain in my face and wrist during my recovery. I still suffer from headaches from the concussion. As you’ll see in the medical records, my doctor said it could take as long as a year for me to get back to the way I was before your insured crashed into my car.

WORK HISTORY

I’ve been employed for the past four years as a delivery driver for United Delivery Service (UDS). I have an impeccable driving record and had an exceptional attendance record until your insured caused my injuries.

My job duties require me to lift boxes weighing up to forty pounds and place them into my delivery truck and carry those boxes off the truck as I deliver them to the customers on my assigned route. I need full use of my arms and hands.

My job also requires me to drive safely, meaning I need to be able to think clearly and pay attention to the road.

Because of the concussion, facial pain, and wrist injury limitations, I was unfit to perform my job duties. I did everything the doctor told me so I could get back to work as soon as possible.

It’s good to tell the adjuster you were not malingering or taking more time off from work than medically necessary.

It was no vacation. I had no income coming in for the five weeks I was out of work. I couldn’t do anything around the house because of my wrist pain and couldn’t bend over because of the swelling in my nose. The concussion gave me headaches and sensitivity to light that made it impossible for me to read or watch television. I felt miserable, useless, and depressed.

My wife also suffered because she had to handle everything on her own. We were both ashamed and embarrassed when we had to borrow money from family to pay the bills.

DAMAGES

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.

Hospital ER and Radiology

$5,600

Dr. Smythe

$900

Lost Wages

$5,800

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

$200

Pain and Suffering

$25,000

Total Damages

$37,500

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 $37,500 to resolve my personal injury claim.

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

Sincerely,

Jacob O’Neil
Phone: 555-234-5678
Email: joneil@example.com

If you decide to include an email address, use your home email. Employers have legal access to correspondence and attachments in your work email.

Get Help Settling Your Injury Claim

Professional negotiators know that both sides have to compromise to reach an equitable settlement agreement. Minor injury claims usually settle after a few rounds of offers and counteroffers, but sometimes negotiations break down.

Legal help with your injury claim is only a phone call or mouse click away. You have the right to consult an attorney at any point in the negotiations process.

It’s important to manage your expectations when you enter negotiations with the insurance adjuster. Remember to be patient and persistent, and know you won’t walk away with the full amount of your demand.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t have to give in to a hard-nosed adjuster who refuses to pay for diagnostic tests or your lost wages. Sometimes all it takes is a call from your attorney to get a fair settlement offer.

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

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