For personal injury claims where a pedestrian was hit by a car, the claimant is usually in a pretty good position when it comes to settlement negotiations. But at some point in the claim process, you (or your attorney) will probably need to put together a professional and persuasive demand letter. Here's an example of what this kind of correspondence might look like.
December 1, 20xx
P.O. Box 54
Re: Your insured: Garry Pillar
Date of injury: February 27, 20xx
Your file number: 12DDC55-CV [NOTE: Always use the insurer's file number on all correspondence with the insurer]
Dear Mr. Thomas:
I have finished treating 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 medical records and bills when you make a demand.]
As you know, I was crossing 4th Street in Westlake, WA, at the intersection with Main St., when your insured, Mr. Pillar, hit me. There was a stop sign at that intersection, and it was a marked crosswalk. I was crossing in the crosswalk. Mr. Pillar had the stop sign, but he did not stop. Luckily, he slowed down, but he could not stop and ended up hitting me with the front of his car, which knocked me down.
There can be no question but that your insured was negligent. He went through a stop sign and hit a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. Accordingly, he is liable for my injuries. [NOTE: You want to explain all of the significant facts and then conclude with a statement that the insured is liable. If liability is relatively obvious, you don't need to get into too much detail. If the defendant admits liability or makes any statements tending to admit that he/she was negligent, you definitely want to mention that in your demand letter. Learn more about Car Accidents Caused by Negligence.]
As a result of this incident, I was knocked over. I broke my left wrist and had a small fracture of my right pelvis. The police were called, and I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I stayed in the hospital for two nights and was sent home with instructions to stay in bed for a week. I was referred to an orthopedist, who I saw periodically for the next six months.
I had a cast on my arm for seven weeks. For the fractured pelvis, I avoided needing a full body cast, but I was told not to move around much for four more weeks after I got off bed rest, or I would probably end up needing a cast.
After ten weeks, I was sent for physical therapy to get my strength and flexibility back in my pelvis. It has now been nine months, and I have mostly recovered, although I am still pretty stiff in the mornings, after exercise, and after cold or rainy weather. [NOTE: Summarize your medical treatment. You don't need to give all of the details. You just want to describe the main points.]
The pain was very severe for the first couple of weeks and it is extremely inconvenient to be stuck in bed. I had to have a visiting nurse stop in every day for the first three weeks. Even after I was able to get up and move around my house, I still had my arm in a cast, and I am left-handed. The injury was to my dominant hand. That made doing anything and everything difficult to impossible. For months afterward, my hips and pelvis were stiff and painful. This affected my ability to do things around the house, to exercise, and to socialize. Basically, I became a shut-in. I do not wish this experience on anyone. [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 $25,000. I have paid $3,000 in co-pays. My health insurance paid the remainder of the bills, but they recently sent me a letter claiming a lien of $12,000 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:
I am an accountant for Westlake Accounting. I earn $2,000 per week and missed sixteen weeks of work. I have attached a letter from the orthopedist explaining that I needed to stay out of work for that time. Accordingly, my lost earnings claim is $32,000. I went on short-term disability and received $1,000 per week for twelve weeks ($12,000), which I have to repay. [NOTE: State your lost earnings claim briefly and clearly. Make sure that you have a doctor's note saying that you needed to be out of work for the entire time that you were out of work. Without this kind of note, the insurer is not going to consider your lost earnings claim. If you received any type of private or public disability benefits, you will have to disclose them as well. The insurer knows that you will have to repay them.] My total special damages are $57,000.00.
Taking into account your insured's absolute liability and my damages in this case, I demand $250,000.00 to settle this case. Would you please advise as to your thoughts on this matter.
Very truly yours,