How do I go about making a demand for settlement of my son’s accident claim after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Your demand letter should provide the claims adjuster with the information required to evaluate your claim. There must be a clear presentation of the facts and an accurate statement of the liability (who was at fault) supported by whatever evidence is available, such as witnesses’ statements and a police report. Specific information about the injury and the expenses incurred as a result of the accident are vital to convince the adjuster that the claim has the value you believe it has.

Here is a sample of a demand letter you could write on behalf of your son. CAUTION: If your son were a minor, you would want to seek the advice of an attorney. Where there is a fairly serious injury as in this scenario—a broken bone and stitches—an attorney would be better equipped to handle getting court approval for settlement documents on behalf of the minor, as would be required by the court.

Dear Adjuster,

On September 16, 2005, at 3:00 p.m., your insured, John Doe, was driving west on Oak Street near the corner of Webster Street, when he entered the bicycle lane and hit my son, Jake, age 18. Jake was knocked off his bike and landed on the curb. Luckily, he was wearing a helmet. Although Mr. Doe said he had his right turn signal on, the police report indicates Mr. Doe was entirely at fault for the accident. (Police report attached.)

My son was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital. X-rays revealed that his right leg was fractured. He also had contusions to his legs, arms and face, one on his leg requiring stitches. They put a cast on Jake’s leg up to his knee, and said until the contusions heal, he would need to get around in a wheel chair. He was released from the hospital and prescribed 800 mg of Motrin for the pain and swelling. We were referred to an orthopedist who said the cast would have to stay on for 8 weeks. After 3 weeks, Jake was able to use crutches and go back to school. He will need physical therapy when the cast is removed next week. Jake also saw our family doctor to treat the contusions.

Jake’s medical bills and projected future bills total $8,085 (documentation attached):

Ambulance: $825.

Hospital E.R., x-rays, exam, cast, stitches, etc.: $3,850.

Dr. Fischer (family physician): Unknown future bills, est. 3-5 visits at $95 per visit, $375.

Dr. Wesley (Orthopedist): Unknown future bills, est. 5-6 visits at $225 per visit, $1,050.

Physical Therapist: Unknown future bills, est. 16-20 visits at $75 per visit, $1,200.

Medicine: Motrin Rx 800 mg, $85.

Equipment: Wheelchair, Crutches: $450.

Jake was to begin playing varsity soccer and now will be unable to play the entire season. Soccer fees were an unrefundable $125. This is the first year he’s made the varsity team.

As a result of his injuries, Jake had to miss three weeks of school. I had to miss work to care for him. My lost wages were $1,400 (documentation attached).

Jake has had and will continue to have much pain and suffering from his injuries. I request you settle this claim for the amount of $50,000 for Jake, plus reimbursement for my lost wages and the soccer fee, totaling $1,525. Please respond within 15 days.

Very truly yours,

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