If you're putting together a demand letter after a car accident in which you suffered minor injuries, use this sample letter as a model in drafting your own correspondence to the other driver's car insurance carrier.
Sample Demand Letter -- Car Accident with Minor Injury
December 14, 20xx
Ms. Rachel Manno
P.O. Box 664
New York, NY
Re: Your insured: Frank Askew
Date of injury: August 18, 20xx
Your file number: 2211FFV78 [NOTE: Always use the insurer’s file number on all correspondence with the carrier]
Dear Ms. Manno:
I have finished my medical treatment, and so I am enclosing all of my medical records and bills on this case. [NOTE: You always want to make sure that the adjuster has all of your injury-related medical records and bills when you send a demand letter. The adjuster will not make a settlement offer until he/she has your entire medical file.] As you know, I was injured when your insured, Frank Askew, rear-ended me while I was sitting motionless waiting for the red light to change at the intersection of Main and Fourth Streets in Johnson City, TN.[NOTE: In this type of case, your discussion of fault for the car accident should be short and sweet. You were rear-ended at a red light. There is really nothing more to say about liability. The defendant is liable, period. At least in this situation, the adjuster knows that.]
I felt neck pain immediately after being rear-ended. Mr. Askew asked if I was OK and I told him that I probably was not OK. I went to see my primary care doctor, Dr. Waits, the next day. He said that I probably had a neck and left shoulder strain and said to rest for a week and take plenty of ibuprofen and use hot packs to relax the muscles. He said to stay out of work for a week (I am a groundskeeper at a local museum) and then come back to see him.
My neck and shoulder were still bothering me, so he said that I could go either to physical therapy or a chiropractor. He took an x-ray and said that the injury was definitely neck and shoulder strain. I chose physical therapy and he said that two weeks should probably get me better. He said that I could go back to work in the meantime, but that I should be careful. [NOTE: Make sure to summarize your medical treatment and give your exact diagnosis, especially in a smaller case.]
The physical therapy helped, and I felt that I was pretty much recovered after about a month total. I was out of work for a week and couldn’t do anything energetic in my personal life for that month. I did no exercising for three weeks. I couldn’t go dancing with my boyfriend and couldn’t do any housework. My house became a mess because of this accident. [NOTE: You want to explain clearly and concisely your injuries and your pain and suffering. Don’t exaggerate, especially in a small case. The adjuster has heard it all before. Just explain what your injuries were and how they affected your life. Also, in a small case, there is only so much that you can say about your injuries.]
My medical bills total $2,000. I have health insurance, but it is high-deductible health insurance, and so I had to pay the bills myself. [NOTE: If you have health insurance, but for some reason it is not paying the bills, you need to explain that to the adjuster.]
My medical bills were as follows:
Dr. Waits 500.00
Johnson City Chiropractic 1,500.00
TOTAL $2,000.00 [NOTE: You always want to put together a little chart listing your medical bills, even in a small case. Don’t make the adjuster read through them to figure out how much they are.]
This is a small case, but it is important to me. I did nothing wrong. Your insured drove negligently and injured me. Taking into account your insured’s absolute liability and my damages in this case, I demand $15,000 to settle this case. Would you please advise as to your thoughts on this matter. [After sending the letter, you should give the adjuster three or four weeks to respond. If you don’t hear from the adjuster in a month, then give him/her a call.]
Very truly yours,
If you make a demand, but settlement talks break down or you are having problems with the adjuster, you should contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer and discuss your legal options, including the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit.