Curious to see a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company in a car crash case? Our personal injury lawyers explain what a demand letter is, how a demand letter is used in settlement negotiations, and provide an example of a settlement demand letter to a car insurance company.
What is a Demand Letter in a Car Accident Case?
A demand letter ‘demands’ settlement for a specified amount, usually the insurance policy limit, from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Driver A is rear ended by Driver B.
Driver A seeks medical treatment and has MRI’s which confirm he now suffers with disc herniations in his spine due to the accident.
Driver B has $100,000 insurance policy with GEICO.
Driver A’s lawyer will write a demand letter to GEICO, demanding the insurance policy limits of $100,000 in exchange for a release of liability for GEICO’s insured, Driver B.
Do I Need to Send a Demand Letter to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
It is usually a good idea to formally demand the insurance policy limits in a car crash case. Here’s why. Insurance companies have a legal duty to protect their insureds from exposure to a judgment. This means, if an insured person hurts someone, it is GEICO’s legal duty to protect their insured from an excess judgment above the policy limit.
If an insurance company has an opportunity to settle a case, and should have settled the case, but fails to settle the case, this may expose the GEICO insured to a much larger judgment entered against them. If this happens, GEICO may be found to be in bad faith, and the insured can then sue GEICO for bad faith.
Driver A demands the full policy limit from GEICO for Driver B.
GEICO rejects the demand, and instead offers only $25,000 to Driver A.
Driver A then proceeds to trial against Driver B and gets a $4 million judgment entered against Driver B.
Driver B can then sue GEICO, alleging bad faith on GEICO’s part, for failing to settle the case when they could have and should have for the $100,000 limits.
An Example of a Demand Letter Sent to an Auto Insurance Company in a Car Accident Case
Our car accident lawyers write detailed Demand Letters to the at-fault insurance company. Below is an exemplar demand letter for a car crash case.
October 10, 2018
Via Certified Mail
Return Receipt Requested
RE: Your Insured: Insured Name
Your Claim No.: xxxxxxxxxxx
Your Policy No.: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date of Accident: February 10, 2018
Our Client: Client
Our File No.: 18-0127
DEMAND FOR SETTLEMENT
Dear Sir or Madam:
As you are aware, the undersigned attorney represents CLIENT relative to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident caused by Christopher J. INSURED, your insured, on the above-referenced date. Please allow this to serve as our demand for you to tender the incredibly limited insurance policy limits. In support of this, we provide you with a comprehensive settlement package including overwhelming medical evidence that Mr. CLIENT’s losses far exceed the minimal $100,000 policy limit.
I. PERTINENT FACTS
A. The Accident
On February 10, 2018, at approximately 2:16pm, in Boca Raton, FL, CLIENT was heading east bound on Glades Rd. approaching the intersection of Federal Highway, but was stopped in traffic at a red light. Christopher INSURED was also traveling east bound on Glades Rd. Mr. INSURED failed to notice Mr. CLIENT stopped in traffic ahead of him, and struck Mr. CLIENT’s car from behind at 35 miles per hour. A witness to the accident stated that he observed Mr. INSURED texting while driving, which was the clear and obvious cause of the accident. Both vehicles were towed due to the ‘disabling’ damage, and Mr. CLIENT was transported to Memorial Regional Hospital for his injuries. This was a substantial impact.
Liability is not an issue in this case as the crash was caused solely by the negligence of Mr. INSURED. The investigating officer cited Mr. INSURED careless and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and noted that the driver was distracted by a cell phone. Accordingly, the jury trial in this matter will proceed on Mr. CLIENT’s damages only.
B. Personal Background
CLIENT is a pleasant, hardworking 33 year old man. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends. CLIENT graduated from Sheridan Technical and is now pursuing a career as a chef. Prior to this accident, Mr. CLIENT lead a healthy, active life.
CLIENT is a very personable, hardworking man who will appear favorably to a jury. It is significant to note that at just 33 years of age, CLIENT has no significant long-lasting preexisting spinal, back, or neck injuries. The causation of his pain will be obvious to a jury. All of Mr. CLIENT’s persistent injuries directly stem from the car crash caused by your insured.
C. Personal Injuries
Upon impact, CLIENT immediately felt pain and soreness in his lower back and neck. Due to his injuries, an ambulance was called. EMTs on the scene took his vital signs and transported him to Memorial Regional Hospital for emergency care. At the hospital, Mr. CLIENT was diagnosed with injuries to his back and neck as a result of the crash and was prescribed high doses of pain medicine as a result. Unfortunately, his injuries continue to plague him to this day. A summary of his injuries and treatment are outlined in detail below.
D. Injuries and Medical Treatment
• Disc Bulge at L5/S1 Level
• Annular Bulge at L3/4 and L4/5 Levels
• Cervical Pain with Radiculopathy
• Cervical IVD
• Lumbar Pain with Radiculopathy
• Lumbar IVD
• Numbness in right and left arm and right and left legs
• Lumbosacral neuritis or radiculitis
• Sprain of Lumbar
• Radiculopathy, lumbar region
• Sprain of ligaments of lumbar spine
• Annular Tears
Hollywood Fire Rescue: Mr. CLIENT was transported from the scene of the accident by Hollywood Fire Rescue after he complained of lower back pain and neck pain after the crash.
Memorial Regional Hospital: Mr. CLIENT was evaluated for the lower back pain and neck pain at the hospital. X-rays were taken and he was discharged to go home with some pain medications. Mr. CLIENT was told to follow up with a doctor if the pain did not subside.
Dr. CHIROPRACTOR: Unfortunately, Mr. CLIENT’s pain continued. As a result, CLIENT began chiropractic therapy treatment with Dr. CHIROPRACTOR on or about February 23, 2018 with complaints of severe pain neck pain in the bilateral trapezius and rhomboid muscle groups; he also complained of severe and worsening lower back pain, headaches, and numbness in his arms and legs. Mr. CLIENT complained of having difficulty lifting, pulling, standing, bending, and pushing. CLIENT also noted that he had very restless nights due to the pain he was enduring. He was forced to take over the counter pain medication. CLIENT has difficulty standing and being on his feet for long periods of time, and unfortunately, his job requires him to stand on his feet for long periods of time. CLIENT continuously worries that he will be fired when he has to miss work, or leave early due to the crash-related injuries. Dr. CHIROPRACTOR recommended treatment, therapy, and active/passive modalities. Alternatives to treatment were discussed as well as potential risks and possible events associated with various treatment options. Dr. CHIROPRACTOR also noted that this treatment was “directly related” to the injuries incurred in the accident. CLIENT continues to treat with Dr. CHIROPRACTOR multiple times a week in order to reduce pain.
Precision Diagnostic, Inc.: On May 9, 2018, Dr. RADIOLOGIST performed an MRI of Mr. CLIENT’s lumbar spine, due to pain from the 2/11/2018 MVA. The MRI indicated posterior annular bulging with bilateral foraminal encroachment at L3/4 and L4/5. At the L5/S1 level, the MRI indicated posterior annular bulging with bilateral foraminal encroachment. The MRI results objectively confirm that CLIENT’s injuries are acute and trauma-related, as opposed to some degenerative age-related condition.
Dr. ORTHOPEDIC/Orthopedic Center of South Florida- On July 14, 2018, Mr. CLIENT presented to Dr. ORTHOPEDIC office for evaluation with chief complaints of low back pain radiating down the right leg with numbness. Dr. Linn is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. Dr. Linn’s performed his examination as well as x-rays of the lumbar spine and pelvis. Dr. ORTHOPEDIC’ initial impression and diagnosis are that of lumbar strain, right lumbar radiculitis, and right sacroiliitis. Dr. ORTHOPEDIC’ prescribed naproxyn and home exercises and asked Mr. CLIENT to return with his MRI studies to review in depth. On August 4, 2018, Mr. CLIENT returned for follow-up with complaints of ongoing back pain that gets worse with certain activities. After evaluation and review of his MRI, Dr. ORTHOPEDIC’ reviewed options with Mr. CLIENT of future care, discussed interventional pain management modalities, and ultimately felt that Mr. CLIENT had reached maximum medical improvement. Per the AMA guidelines, Dr. ORTHOPEDIC’s assigned a permanent impairment rating of 4% secondary to this auto accident.
II. SPECIAL DAMAGES
Economic damages are “objectively verifiable monetary losses, including medical expenses, loss of earnings….loss of use of property, cost of replacement or repair, cost of obtaining substitute domestic services, loss of employment, and loss of business or employment opportunities.”
A. Medical Expenses:
1. Past Medical Expenses
A summary of Mr. CLIENT’s accident-related medical bills, currently in our possession, follows:
Provider Dates of Treatment Total Charges
Hollywood Fire Rescue 2/11/2018 $ unknown- approx.. $1,000.00
Memorial Regional Hospital (E/R) 2/11/2018 $ 1,606.00
Dr. CHIROPRACTOR 2/23/2018 – 7/08/2018 $ 19,481.93
Precision Diagnostic, Inc. 5/9/2018 $ 1,600.00
Dr. ORTHOPEDIC/Orthopaedic Center of South Florida 7/14/2018- 8/04/2018 $1,179.00
*This bill is not final bill amount; This number is expected to increase.
2. Future Medical Expenses
At just 33 years of age, Mr. CLIENT continues to treat and will require medical treatment for the remainder of his life. His future treatment will be based on his ongoing neck and back pain. Additionally, because of the injuries suffered in the accident, Mr. CLIENT will be more susceptible to re-injury or aggravations. In consideration of the aforementioned concerns, a conservative estimate of future medical care over his lifetime would be $1,500/year, which accounts for 6 doctor visits. This $1,500/year extrapolated over the remainder of his life expectancy (45.03 years) totals $67,545.00. Please note, this would be the most conservative care plan for Mr. CLIENT, as it does not account for future orthopedic visits, surgery, injections, or therapy, which will likely occur for Mr. CLIENT, since Mr. CLIENT has exhausted conservative therapy options.
B. Lost Compensation and Impairment of Earning Capacity
At the time of this accident, Mr. CLIENT was successfully working as a chef. This was an ideal job as CLIENT was able to meet the physical demands of his job and provide well for his family. Sadly, due to his injuries, he struggles to perform essential duties at the restaurant, and therefore has left work early and has even missed full days of work. CLIENT worries about losing his job. Like many of CLIENT’s favorite activities, the constant pain is unbearable to deal with while on his feet. Due to the nature of his duties as a chef, CLIENT experiences pain every day that he works. If he continues to leave early and completely miss days of work, CLIENT may have to resign. As a result, he will lose income and earning capacity, which we have summarized below:
CLIENT averaged 5 nights/week and made $13/hr. If a jury merely awards CLIENT his wage loss for 1 year ($650 per week = $33,800/year) plus an impairment earning capacity of $10/day for 3 years ($10,950), CLIENT’s wage loss/earning capacity impairment claim totals $44,750. Please note that a wage loss expert will be retained in suit.
III. HUMAN DAMAGES
Undoubtedly, CLIENT’s largest and most significant loss are his human damages. Also known as non-economic damages, these losses are subjective, nonmonetary losses, including, but not limited to pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability or disfigurement incurred by the injured party, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, injury to reputation and humiliation, and destruction of relationships.
1. Pain, Suffering and Mental Anguish
Florida law recognizes that a key element of damages in a personal injury action is the pain and suffering, both mental and physical, suffered by a person and with reasonable probability to be experienced in the future. Mental suffering is a separate element of damages to be considered.
Mr. CLIENT suffers extraordinary pain and suffering as a result of the permanent neck, and back pain which radiates throughout his body. The subject collision has had a significant impact on Mr. CLIENT’s everyday life. Every day, he is reminded of his limitations by recognizing that he can no longer do things he used to be able to do. He is having trouble keeping his job. Lifting objects and standing for long periods of time causes him immense pain; he also expresses that he has great difficulty bending over and pushing/pulling objects. While speaking to his chiropractor, CLIENT stated that he is so surprised how much more pain he is in every day. In addition, CLIENT expresses his difficulty with getting up in the morning due to lack of sleep from the pain and discomfort. Mr. CLIENT’s injury also impairs his intimate relationship with his wife. As you could imagine, this is problematic in all aspects of his life: relationships, recreation, and daily living activities. At just 33 years old, CLIENT is far too young to suffer with daily pain for the remainder of his life.
Since this collision, CLIENT has suffered permanent injuries to his neck and back. Worst of all, his doctors inform him that these injuries will plague him for the remainder of his life. If a jury awards him just $10/day for these significant injuries, with his remaining life expectancy of 45.03 years, his noneconomic human damages would total $164,359.50.
Due to the amount of pain and suffering caused by your insured’s negligence, we believe a jury would conservatively award $164,359.50 to CLIENT for the daily lifelong pain from this accident.
V. DAMAGES SUMMARY
Past Medical Expenses $24,866.93
Future Medical Expenses $67,545.00
Lost Wages/Earning Capacity $44,750.00
Human Damages (Pain/Suffering) $164,359.50
Total Damages $301,521.43
VI. DEMAND FOR SETTLEMENT TO INSURANCE COMPANY
We believe that the above-evaluation is a fair and conservative estimate of CLIENT’s damages which will be awarded at trial. Please not that this conservative estimate does not include any surgical costs, even though surgery appears to be inevitable. As you will note, this low-end estimate of Mr. CLIENT’s damages stemming from this crash are significantly more than your policy limit. Nonetheless, in an effort to resolve this matter without the need for protracted litigation, my client has authorized me to resolve this case for the incredibly limited BI coverage limits.
This is a “no-brainer.” Mr. CLIENT suffered severe and permanent injuries. His life is a mess as a result of this wreck. He will require ongoing treatment and will have to live with these injuries for the remainder of his life. The medical records support this. At just 33 years old, he is far too young to be plagued with this kind of pain and disability. Given the severity of the objective injuries and the clear liability, this case is worth much more than the limited $100,000 of insurance coverage. Assuming a jury awards Mr. CLIENT the above scenario, Mr. INSURED would be saddled with a near $300,000.00+ judgment entered against him.
This is your one opportunity to resolve this case before litigation. If we are forced, we will file a lawsuit and a jury can decide the value of CLIENT’s permanent debilitating injuries. This case is worth much more than the limited insurance coverage available. However, my client makes the following demand contingent on the following:
Tender the insurance policy limits of $100,000.00 in my office by 5 p.m. on Monday November 12, 2018, made payable to CLIENT and Senior Justice Law Firm Trust Account.
Failure to meet the above-referenced terms will be deemed a rejection of this demand and my client will seek the full measure of damages available to him by law. I trust that this matter will be timely resolved for the insurance policy limits so that the previously made mistakes do not get compounded into larger ones. Please share this correspondence with Mr. INSURED and please have Mr. INSURED’s personal attorney contact my office.
/s/ Michael J. Brevda
MICHAEL J. BREVDA, ESQ.
Enclosures as Stated
Adjuster, via facsimile
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