Here is an example of a demand letter that the claimant might send in a bicycle accident case where he was hit by a car.
Sample Demand Letter for Bicyclist Hit by a Car
January 19, 20xx
Mr. Arthur Enders West Texas Insurance P.O. Box 1200 El Paso, TX
Re: Your insured: Frank Jones Date of injury: March 3, 20xx
Your file number: NH-88665 [NOTE: Always use the insurer’s file number on all correspondence.]
Dear Mr. Enders:
I have finished treating and so I am enclosing all of my medical records and bills on this case. [NOTE: The adjuster will not consider your demand until he/she has your entire medical file.]
As you know, I was bicycling down Mountain Rd. in El Paso, approaching 6th Street, when your insured, Mr. Jones, who was parked, opened his driver’s side car door in my path when I was about 5 feet from the door. I had no ability to stop, and so was “doored.” I hit his door and was knocked down. I was bicycling at the right side of the lane of travel. I had an absolute right to be where I was. Mr. Jones simply did not look behind him when he opened his door. If he did, he wasn’t paying attention to the road. Given these facts, I believe that your insured was negligent and is liable for my injuries. [NOTE: If liability is relatively obvious, you don’t need to get into too much detail. Learn more about Proving Fault in an Injury Case.]
As a result of this collision, I separated my right shoulder when I hit the door and then the ground. My bike was also totaled. Mr. Jones called the police, and they called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. I was treated and released at the hospital. They told me to see my primary care physician and to ask for a referral to an orthopedist. I did get a referral to an orthopedist, Dr. Davis, and he saw me for this injury. I saw him every other week for a month and a half, and then he sent me to physical therapy to strengthen my shoulder and get my range of motion and flexibility back. I went to physical therapy three times a week for six weeks, and did exercises at home every day.[NOTE: Summarize your medical treatment. You don’t need to give all of the details. You want to describe the main points.]
My shoulder was extremely painful for a week, then the pain diminished. I took prescription strength pain medications for that week. After that, I took Tylenol once or twice a day for the next couple of weeks. My arm was in a sling for a month. I am right handed, and so only had limited use of my dominant arm for that time. It was difficult to do just about anything, such as bathing, drying myself after a shower, using the toilet, cleaning the house, cooking, writing, using the computer, etc. Obviously, I could not ride my bike or exercise during that time. [NOTE: You want to explain clearly and concisely your injuries and your pain and suffering. Don’t exaggerate, especially when you had more inconvenience than pain. Just explain what your injuries were and how they affected your life.]
My medical bills total $9,000. I paid $600 in co-pays. My health insurance paid the remainder of the bills, but they recently sent a letter claiming a lien of $4,000 on any settlement that I may get in this case. [NOTE: If you have to repay your health insurance (and you almost always have to), make sure that you tell the adjuster.]
My medical bills were as follows:
Dr. Acton (primary care physician) 500.00
Dr. Davis (orthopedist) 1,000.00
El Paso Ambulance 1,000.00
El Paso General Hospital 3,500.00
El Paso Physical Therapy 2,500.00
TOTAL $9,000.00 [NOTE: Don’t make the adjuster read through your bills to figure out how much they are.]
I am a teacher in the El Paso public schools. I earn $1,000 per week and missed four weeks of work because I could not do basic things like write on the blackboard with my arm in a sling. I have attached a letter from the orthopedist saying that I could not use my arm for that time. Accordingly, my lost earnings claim is $4,000. I received short term disability through the school district in the amount of $600 per week ($2,400 total). They have informed me that I will have to repay them from any settlement that I may get. [NOTE: If you get short and/or long term disability benefits, you will have to disclose that to the adjuster. You will almost always have to repay these benefits if you get a settlement, so make sure to disclose that as well.]
[NOTE: State your lost earnings claim briefly and clearly. Make sure that you have a doctor’s note saying that you needed to miss work for the entire time that you were out, or else the insurer is not going to consider your lost earnings claim.] I also claim damages for my totaled bike. My bike cost $800 and was six months old at the time of the accident. Based on seeing similar bikes on Craigslist, I estimate that it was worth $600 at the time of the accident. [NOTE: You are only entitled to claim the actual value of damaged property as of the time of the accident. You can’t claim the original purchase price.] My total special damages are thus $9,600.00.
Taking into account your insured’s absolute liability and my damages in this case, I demand $50,000.00 to settle this case. Would you please advise as to your thoughts on this matter.