Whiplash is a common reason for auto insurance claims. Here’s a sample demand letter requesting compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
When you’ve suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident, you expect the insurance company to make good on your claim.
If you live in a no-fault insurance state, you’ll submit your claim under your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. In other states, you’ll file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Even when the other driver’s liability is clear, like in most rear-end collisions, the insurance adjuster won’t automatically pay your injury claim. You’ll have to prove your damages with medical records and other evidence.
Severe injury claims should always be handled by a personal injury attorney for the best results.
Insurance company adjusters tend to be skeptical about soft-tissue injury claims like whiplash. If you’ve decided to negotiate your accident settlement without a lawyer, it’s up to you to build a strong claim.
The negotiation phase of your claim begins when you send a persuasive written demand for injury compensation to the insurance company.
Learn more about How to Write an Effective Demand Letter.
Assembling a Complete Demand Packet
A complete demand packet has a well-written demand letter and copies of the documentation you need to show fault for the crash, the scope of your injuries, and the cost of your damages.
Important evidence to prove the other driver’s fault might include:
Before drafting your demand letter, you must calculate the settlement value of your injury claim by totaling your “special damages” and “general damages.”
You’ll need copies of your medical records, doctor’s notes, and medical test reports to verify the scope of your injuries and justify your medical treatment.
General damages are more difficult to quantify. There are no objective measurements for general damages like emotional distress, but there are other ways to justify your claim for pain and suffering.
Make copies of your bills, receipts, and supporting evidence to enclose with your compensation demand letter.
Writing a Persuasive Demand Letter
Your demand letter can look just as good as one written by an attorney with a little attention to detail:
- Double-check your spelling and grammar
- Confirm the spelling of names and locations
- Check your math and make sure dollar amounts are correct
- Print your letter on quality white bond paper
- Sign your letter in blue or black ink
Your demand letter should include:
- Statement of Facts: Describe what 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 accident claim 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 Demand Letter for Whiplash Compensation
Here we’ve created a sample demand for injury compensation from a fictional victim who suffered a whiplash injury in a rear-end collision.
Property damage claims for vehicle repairs are typically processed separately from injury claims, so the sample letter is focused only on our victim’s injury claim.
Click the buttons for hints about writing your demand letter.
138 Park Road
Swanton, OH 43529
November 4, 2020
Traditional Insurance Company
1001 High Street
Columbus, OH 43527
Attn: Robert Brown
Your Insured: Tammy Sutherland
Re: Auto Collision on July 15, 2020
Claim Number: CA003369
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
Dear Mr. Brown:
As you know, I was seriously injured on July 15, 2020, at about 4:30 p.m., when your distracted insured violently slammed into the back of my car. The crash occurred at the intersection of Cherry Street and Franklin Street.
I was on my way home from work in my Ford Focus, traveling northbound on Cherry Street. The day was clear and dry, and I was wearing my seatbelt. I stopped at the stop sign, waiting for traffic on Franklin Street to go by when suddenly, without warning, I was violently jolted by the impact from behind. Your insured, Tammy Sutherland, had plowed into the back of my car with her Chevy Malibu.
If not for the negligence of your insured, Tammy Sutherland, I would not have suffered my injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
I was lawfully stopped at a stop sign when the collision occurred without warning. There was nothing I could do to avoid the crash, and I was injured through no fault of my own.
The collision resulted in painful flexion injuries to my neck and shoulder that kept me out of work for a week. I was treated at St. Luke Hospital emergency department, and by my primary care physician, Dr. Phillip Morley. I also had to endure two weeks of painful physical therapy.
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.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On July 15, 2020, I was on my way home from my secretarial job in my Ford Focus, traveling northbound on Cherry Street. The day was clear and dry, and I was wearing my seatbelt. Because it was a hot day, I took off my blazer before getting into the car, so I was wearing a sleeveless tank top.
I stopped at the stop sign, waiting for traffic on Franklin Street to go by when suddenly, without warning, I was violently jolted by the impact from behind. Your insured, Tammy Sutherland, had rammed into the back of my car with her Chevy Malibu.
The collision threw me forward then slammed me back in my seat, causing my head to forcefully and abruptly snap back and forth. As I was thrown back and forth, my head hit the driver’s side window.
The force of the crash threw my body against the seat and shoulder belts, leaving welts and bruises on my shoulder and chest.
I was in pain and stunned by the impact, but I was able to turn off my engine and call 911 and my husband. Then I heard yelling and crying, so I got out of my car to see if anyone else was hurt.
I turned around to see Tammy Sutherland holding her cell phone with tears streaming down her face. She saw me and blurted out, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you were stopped. Are you okay? My mom is going to kill me!”
The person standing next to her was also crying and said, “I wasn’t even thinking that you shouldn’t have been texting! I could have sent that message for you.”
The police and emergency services arrived in a few minutes. I was treated at the scene by the paramedics who immobilized my neck with a cervical collar before I spoke with the investigating police officer. Rather than be taken by ambulance, my husband arrived and took me to St. Luke Hospital emergency department.
While I was being treated by the paramedics, the police officer talked to Tammy Sutherland and her passenger. Both admitted Tammy had been texting on her cell phone and didn’t see that I had stopped until her passenger screamed, but it was too late to avoid the collision.
As you can see in the enclosed police report, your insured was ticketed for failing to yield, following too closely, and texting while driving.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
The paramedics treated me at the scene and applied a cervical collar to protect my neck. My husband drove me from the scene of the crash to St. Luke Hospital emergency department, where I received further medical treatment. X-rays and a CT scan showed a cervical strain to the C-5 region of my neck.
The treating physician, Dr. Freedman, diagnosed me as having sustained a whiplash injury. He prescribed pain medication and muscle relaxers, and instructed me to see my primary care provider.
The morning after the collision, I woke up stiff and in terrible pain. I was barely able to turn my head without excruciating pain.
My husband called into work for me and contacted our family physician, Dr. Morley, for an appointment. Dr. Morley confirmed the cervical flexion diagnosis and ordered me to stay off work to prevent further injury. I was treated conservatively with muscle relaxers, over the counter pain relief, and alternating hot and cold compresses.
I had a follow-up visit with Dr. Morley the following week. I was anxious to return to work despite the continued pain and stiffness in my neck. Dr. Morley allowed me to return to work on restricted duty so long as I continued to wear the cervical collar. He also ordered two weeks of physical therapy to treat the stiffness in my neck and shoulder.
The therapy was painful, but I was determined to do everything necessary to be able to resume my normal home and work activities.
I have been a secretary at the Friendly Real Estate office for three years. My job duties include typing, filing, transcribing dictation, and handling office supplies, like boxes of paper, and dealing with customers who call or walk-in.
For three weeks, I couldn’t perform my job duties. I was completely off work for one week without pay. I am lucky to work with a great group of people who took over several of my job duties so that I could return to work. Because I only had the “light duty” of talking to customers and answering the phone, I was able to get a regular paycheck.
The following is a list of my medical bills and other financial losses related to my injuries and treatment. Copies of the bills are enclosed, along with a wage statement from my employer.
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 $18,000 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
Even with great evidence and some coaching on how to negotiate an insurance settlement, sometimes negotiations break down.
It’s important to know you have options when negotiations fail. You have the right to consult an attorney at any point in the negotiations process, so don’t throw in the towel if you get stuck.
Insurance adjusters can be particularly hard-nosed about soft-tissue claims. If you get an adjuster with a bad attitude you might be tempted to take their low offer just to get it over with.
Don’t settle for less before taking the time to discuss your claim with an experienced personal injury attorney. It’s amazing how fast some claims settle once an attorney gets involved.
Most injury attorneys don’t charge car accident victims for their initial consultation, and there’s no obligation. It costs nothing to find out what a good attorney can do for you.
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