Anatomy of a Personal Injury Demand Letter

If you’ve been in an accident, you may need to write a personal injury demand letter to an insurance company. Demand letters are often necessary when filing a personal injury claim as they provide detailed facts of your case in a way that can maximize the possibility of a strong settlement in your favor.

Download Sample Demand Letters

Feel free to download and customize the sample demand letter we use in our example below. Downloads are available in Microsoft Word for Windows, Word for Mac and PDF.

Demand Letter in Word (Windows)
Demand Letter in Word (Mac)
Demand Letter in PDF

The Three Sections of a Personal Injury Demand Letter

A typical personal injury demand letter is broken up into three parts – Accident Facts, Medical Facts and Life Facts. The rest of this article will break down each of these sections and provide some value-add commentary about each section and why they’re important to include in a personal injury demand letter.

demandletter

Letter Header

Insurance Company Adjuster Name
Insurance Company Address

Re: Claim #
Name of Party at fault (insured)

This is where you your provide who you are writing to (typically an insurance company), the claim number and the name of the party at fault i.e. the person who hit you who is insured by this company.


Accident Facts

As you are aware, I was injured in an automobile accident with your insured Jane Doe on January 1, 2015 at the intersection of Winding Way and Auburn Blvd., in Sacramento, California.

In the introductory paragraph, provide only the facts. Who, what, where and when.

I was traveling east on Auburn Blvd., and as I entered the intersection with Winding Way, your insured ran a red light and smashed into my car just behind the driver’s seat, barely missing me. The power of the collision spun my car around and left it facing west, almost to the curb.

In addition to violating the vehicle code, your insured did not slow down. This was apparently due to the fact that she was texting on her cell phone at the time of the accident. A witness to the accident reported this fact, as reflected in the attached police report. As you know, if this matter becomes a lawsuit, I will have access to your insured’s cell phone records to substantiate this claim. As you may be also aware, texting while driving quadruples the risk of an accident, making it as dangerous as driving while drunk.

This is where you add a little color to emphasize an emotional element. In this case, even though a direct hit on Mary did not occur, the near miss increases the sense of emotional trauma Mary suffered. The power of the impact shows how fast the other driver was going, which supports both how negligent the other driver was and how seriously Mary is injured.


Police Report Reference

I have enclosed the police report which states that I had the right of way, and a diagram that describes the position of the car. The enclosed photograph showing severe damage to my car indicates how strong the collision was.

This is a great place to reference the police report, photos reflecting auto damage, diagrams, accident reconstruction reports, etc. and attach them as exhibits. [/stextbox]


Medical Facts

I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of Mercy San Juan Hospital. Immediately after the accident, I had severe pain and stiffness in my back as well as an increasing headache. After X-rays, I was released and advised to see my private physician. My physician, Debra Doctor, M.D., referred me to an orthopedist, Opal Ortho, who examined me and discovered an inflammation of the lumbar spine. She prescribed medication, advised immediate bed rest, and referred me to physical therapy.

I was forced by the pain to remain in bed for the next four days. I attempted to return to work the following Monday, but the pain once again forced me to bed for another two days. I attended physical therapy at the Bergman PT Clinic for five weeks, during which I remained in considerable pain and discomfort. After completing the physical therapy, I returned for an examination by Dr. Ortho, who advised me that I would have residual pain and stiffness for another few months. 

It is important to point out that the orthopedist referred Mary to physical therapy, showing that she did not decide to go on her own. In the mind of an insurance adjuster, that makes the physical therapy treatments more medically legitimate. Good to mention that Mary tried to return to work; it shows that she was not just using her injury as an excuse for a holiday. The doctor confirms long period of recovery.

The medical specials for my treatment are as follows:

A-One Ambulance Co.               $600
Sutter Hospital                           $1,400
Debra Doctor, M.D.                   $260
Opal Ortho, M.D.                       $1,110
San Juan Radiology Group        $280
Bergman Physical Therapy        $840
Prescription medication             $10

TOTAL = $4,500.00

“Medical specials” are what adjusters call the medical part of the injury damages formula. These are all of the medical expenses that Mary had to pay and for which she deserves to be reimbursed.


Wage Loss

As a result of the accident, I missed a total of five days of work as a teacher at St. Francis High School. My monthly gross salary is $3,500.00, and the number of school days in January were 21, so per diem pay for January was $166.67. In total, I lost $833.33 in wages.

Be sure to use your gross salary- that is, wages you would have earned before taxes or other deductions. Be accurate, and make sure you can back up the number with pay stubs.


Life Facts

I suffered excruciating back pain, requiring five weeks of physical therapy. I continue to suffer occasional pain and stiffness now, six months after the accident. The trauma of so narrowly missing a direct hit by your insured’s car has made me fearful of driving, which causes me daily anxiety. To compensate me for the severity of the shock, the long period of treatment, and the continuing pain and discomfort I suffer, I demand the sum of $14,333.

Driving is an important part of most people’s lives, and being afraid to get in a car may raise the value of the claim. This sample settlement figure is based upon medical bills of $4,500.00 multiplied by three plus lost wages.


The Demand

To compensate me for the severity of the shock, the long period of treatment, and the continuing pain and discomfort I suffer, I demand the sum of $14,333.

This is the demand part of the demand letter. Clearly summarize all the issues you mentioned above and that as a result you are asking for a very specific dollar amount.


Closing

This offer shall remain open for 10 days from receipt of this letter.

I look forward to your prompt reply on this matter.

Yours truly,

Mary Graham

Setting a deadline will encourage the insurance adjuster to act quickly, especially if they want to keep the case out of court.

 

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