If you are injured or have been caused some sort of harm that has resulted in requiring medical treatment, you may decide that you want to file a claim with an insurance company to pay for your damages. To do so, you need to write and send them a demand letter. This letter will be used as a point of reference during negotiations for liability and compensation.
What is a Demand Letter?
A demand letter is the central document in negotiating a hit and run, underinsured motorist settlement. If you were injured in a hit and run auto accident and the responsible driver did not have adequate insurance, you may have to file an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company.
Compensation from this claim can help you with any medical costs and living expenses that aren’t covered by your settlement with the other driver.
To file an underinsured motorist claim, you must write a demand letter that includes the details of the accident and an outline of your medical costs and send it to your insurance company. This letter will be used as a point of reference throughout your claims process.
A demand letter is an important document. A well-crafted letter provides the foundation for negotiating a fair personal injury settlement.
It is strongly recommended that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney before writing your hit and run, underinsured motorist demand letter. Their legal expertise can give you a significantly higher chance to receive the fairest personal injury settlement.
Sample Demand Letter for a Hit and Run Accident with an Underinsured Motorist*
The following is a sample demand letter. It contains all of the necessary information your lawyer will need to include.
[Your City, State, and Zip Code]
[Name of the Claims Adjuster]
[Their Job Title]
[Address of the Insurance Company]
[City, State, and Zip Code of the Insurance Company]
Re: Your Insured, [Name of the Defendant]
Claimant: [Your Full Legal Name]
Claim Number: (Only include this number if a claim number has already been assigned to you, and you have already been contacted about the matter.)
Date of Loss: [Date of Accident or Incident in which the Collision Took Place]
Dear Mr./Mrs. [Name of Claims Adjuster],
In response to our previous communication about the matter mentioned above, please accept this letter as my formal demand for settlement.
I have recently finished treatment for the injuries I sustained from an auto accident caused by the negligence of Mr. Gary Peters. Mr. Peters was driving on Route 4A in [insert location] when he went over the guardrail and hit me head on at full speed.
On October 20, 2015, I was driving on Route 4A, which is a three-lane highway. Mr. Peters was sending a text message on his phone while driving, which caused him to lose control of his vehicle. After hitting my car, causing me to hit my head with great force, Mr. Peters fled the scene.
I was taken by ambulance to Steady Memorial Medical Center in [insert address], where I was treated by ER doctor Vance George. Dr. George performed an MRI scan to check for brain damage, took x-rays, and treated my head injury, some broken bones, and minor cuts and bruises. I had to have surgery to relieve a small buildup of fluid on my brain due to the brain injury. Dr. George prescribed me two pain medications [name the medications] and recommended I stay home from my job for two months to recover.
I also attended physical therapy at Bridgeton Falls Recovery Center at [insert address], where I was treated by occupational therapist Linda Williams for six weeks.
The expenses for my injuries and therapy are outlined here, and in the attached medical bills.
Ambulance Transport: $150.00
Steady Memorial Medical Center: $750.00
Dr. Vance George: $460.00
MRI Scan: $289.00
Prescription Pain Medication: $174.00
Physical Therapy, Six Weeks: $1,499.00
Dr. Linda Williams: $640.00
Mr. Peters was found to be negligent and responsible for my injuries. His liability insurance happened to have a policy limit of $8,000.00, so there is still a substantial amount of my medical care that is not covered by his insurance. I also lost out of two month’s worth of my salary at Breakwater Real Estate, Inc., totaling in $6,000.00. Therefore, under my Underinsured Motorist policy coverage, I am requesting $10,000.00 as compensation for my injuries.
I appreciate a timely response and expect to hear back from you in no later than 30 days from this message.
[Your Name – printed]
Note that by asking for an amount that is larger than your combined medical expenses and missed wages, you leave some space to negotiate a fair amount of compensation.
Uninsured Motorist – Who Pays In This Situation?
If you have been involved in an accident with a hit and run driver, you have most likely suffered damages. You may be wondering who is left to pay your bills since the other driver will most likely never be identified so they can be held responsible.
You will need to file a claim with your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. If you don’t have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, you unfortunately, may end up paying for the damages yourself and out of pocket.
If you are not able to determine the driver who caused the crash, so they cannot be held responsible. In many cases, the hit and run driver isn’t insured, so they take off because they cannot afford to cover the damages that they caused in the crash. If the hit and run driver is identified, but they don’t have insurance coverage, you will need to file the claim with your underinsured/uninsured insurance coverage anyway.
Some states don’t require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but other states make it a mandatory part of your insurance coverage. You should add the coverage because if you are involved in a hit and run crash, or if you are in an accident in which the other driver isn’t insured or doesn’t have enough coverage, you will find yourself paying for the damages out of pocket. The additional insurance coverage is worth it in the long run because you never know when you may need to file a claim.
No Fault States
There are 12 states that have no-fault auto insurance laws enacted. These states include Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania have verbal thresholds while Hawaii, Kentucky, Kansas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Utah use a monetary threshold. There are three states using a “choice” no-fault law.
In a no-fault state, every driver will file a claim with his or her own auto insurer after a crash has caused damages. Drivers in no-fault state are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their auto insurance coverage. In these situations, no-fault refers to state laws that provide for the payment of no-fault first-party benefits and restrict the individual’s right to sue, which is called a “limited tort” option.
If you are in a crash where no-fault laws are observed, you can sue for serious injuries and pain and suffering only in situation where your case meets specific conditions. These conditions are called a threshold, which are associated with the severity of the injuries suffered in the crash. They may be expressed in verbal terms, which is called a verbal or descriptive threshold, which are in the dollar amounts of medical bills, which is the monetary threshold.
There are some laws that set minimum requirements for the days one is disabled because of the crash. The high threshold no-fault approach restricts litigation, so costs are reduced, and claims are often paid more quickly. The verbal thresholds help alleviate the inflation of claims that could occur if there is a dollar target set for medical costs.
Evidence To Include With Your Demand Letter
When you pursue a claim against your insurance, or the other party’s insurance, you will need to send a demand letter. This demand letter is to notify the insurance company of your intent to file a claim. In this letter, you will need to provide supporting evidence to show that you were involved in an accident, who was at fault, the damages that you suffered, and how much you expect to be compensated for your losses.
Here are some of the examples of evidence that you should provide with your demand letter. This evidence will prove that you were involved in an auto accident:
- Photos of the accident scene, the damages, and visible injuries
- Any videos of the crash – if available; this could be surveillance video, dash cameras, or traffic cameras
- Statements from any eyewitnesses – these statements should be detailed, and should include the names of any witnesses along with their contact details
- The accident report – always call the police and have an accident report completed; this accident report will verify there was an accident and will detail the damages sustained and injuries suffered
You will need to provide documentation that shows what damages you suffered and the extent of those damages, so you can recover compensation for all your losses. Here are a few of the examples of supporting documentation that could benefit your personal injury claim:
Remember, supporting evidence and documentation are essential to the success of your personal injury claim after you were involved in a hit and run accident that requires you to file an uninsured motorist claim. You should enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer who handles such cases in your state, so you can make sure your claim is filed in a timely manner and that all your supporting evidence is in order.
Personal injury attorneys take cases on the contingency basis, so you will not have to pay anything out of pocket. Instead, your lawyer will only be paid when you recover compensation through a judgment or settlement. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to share the details of your hit and run accident.
*Getting Help with Your Underinsured Motorist Claim
Your insurance company will probably investigate the details around your claim thoroughly, but they are required to act in good faith. If they take an argumentative approach to your claim, they could be in violation of this responsibility.
A lawyer can help you file a successful underinsured motorist claim with your insurance company. They can help you: