If you are next of kin for a loved one who was killed in a wrongful death accident and want to file a wrongful death claim, you need to write and send in a demand letter, or have an attorney do so. This letter will be used to negotiate your claim, so you should write a thorough and detailed explanation of the facts.
What is a Demand Letter?
A demand letter is the central document in negotiating a wrongful death settlement. Wrongful death claims involve a death that was caused by the negligence of another person. These types of cases can include fatal car accidents, malfunctioning machinery, or a wrongly prescribed drug. When writing your demand letter, be sure to also include:
- Proof of lost wages and future income
- Funeral expenses
- Copies of medical expenses, if applicable
- Witness statements
- Any evidence that proves the negligence of the other party
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 wrongful death demand letter. Their legal expertise can give you a significantly higher chance to receive the fairest personal injury settlement.
Sample Demand Letter in a Wrongful Death Claim*
When writing a death claim letter, it is important to write a couple of rough drafts. You do not want to leave out any important details to support your claim. You want to make sure you write everything in a clear and concise manner.
The wrongful death claim letter should be typed and not written. A handwritten letter may be hard to read and words may be misinterpreted.
To create the most effective wrongful death claim letter, write the letter with a lawyer, or have a lawyer write it for you. An attorney will know what is needed in the death demand letter to begin negotiations and help you have a successful wrongful death claim.
This sample wrongful death demand letter includes the important details and information you should include in your own demand letter.
[Your Address] ]
[Your City, State, and Zip Code]
[The Date] ]
[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 Wrongful Death Took Place]
Dear Mr./Mrs. [Name of Claims Adjuster] ,
As I notified you on March 5, 2015, my client Dale Reed is seeking damages in the wrongful death of his father, the decedent Michael Reed, for the fatal car accident caused by your client Ben Harvey on November 26, 2014.
On the night in question, Michael Reed had been driving home at about 11:30 p.m. from a Thanksgiving weekend celebration with his family when he got a flat tire and pulled over on the side of Highway 404. While Mr. Reed was waiting for roadside assistance, the defendant, Ben Harvey, who had been observed weaving in and out of lanes, sideswiped Mr. Reed’s car, crushing him and his vehicle against the guardrail and dragging it approximately 300 feet.
Ben Harvey left the scene of the accident and was later arrested. He was found to have had a blood-alcohol level of 2.08, which is over the legal limit. Authorities arrived within 20 minutes of the accident and pronounced Mr. Reed dead at the scene. It was determined that from being dragged, Mr. Reed suffered from conscious pain and suffering from the accident. He is survived by his adult son, Dale Reed.
Michael Reed was Dale Reed’s father and only living relative. The younger Mr. Reed spent every holiday and birthday with his father and remembers him as a generous, caring, and loving dad who will be greatly missed. As determined by the feelings expressed by Dale Reed, as well as the total expenses for the estate of Michael Reed, the requested compensation for this wrongful death claim are itemized below.
Funeral Expenses at Saint Michael’s Parish and Wellfield Funeral Home: $8,026.00
Pain and Suffering of the Decedent: $950,000.00
Pain and Suffering of Beneficiary: $1,068,000.00
I appreciate a timely response of no more than 30 days past the date of this letter.
[Your Name – printed]
*Getting Help with a Wrongful Death Claim
Hiring an attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases will help ensure that you get a fair settlement in your case. Wrongful death claims most often deal with large settlement amounts and a good deal of evidence. An attorney will often write a demand letter on your behalf and deal with gathering evidence and facilitating negotiations.