Sample Injury Demand Letter Auto Accident

For those of you who appreciate seeing examples, here is a copy of a sample demand letter in Massachusetts auto accident case. Names have been changed.

Christopher Glass, Claim Adjuster

ACME Mutual Insurance Company

Boston, MA  02900

Re:       My Client:                   Christopher Hurt

Your Insured:              Superior Services, Inc.

Date of Injury:                        10/29/11

Your File No.:             60001545555

DEMAND FOR SETTLEMENT

Dear Mr. Glass:

As you are aware, this office represents Christopher Hurt with respect to his claims for personal injuries he sustained when he was struck by a motor vehicle owned and operated by the driver of your insured’s vehicle, Michael Louis on or about October 29, 2011 on Union Street, in the City of Weymouth, Massachusetts.  Please take this letter as my client, Christopher Hurt’s formal demand for settlement.

The following is a summary of the facts of the October 29, 2011 pedestrian/automobile accident.  As you will note, I have detailed the injuries that Mr. Hurt has sustained as well as the medical expenses incurred by him to date as a result of the above-referenced collision.

Summary of Facts:

At approximately 6:40 A.M. on Wednesday, October 29, 2011, Mr. Hurt exited a convenience store located at 17 Union Street, Weymouth, Massachusetts, intending to cross Union Street to the other side of the road where his car was parked. Mr. Hurt was attempting to cross Union Street when the vehicle operated by your insured’s employee, Michael Louis turned a corner at a high rate of speed and then proceeded through the intersection striking Mr. Hurt and throwing his body up and over the roof of the car, causing Mr. Hurt to slam onto the roadway behind your insured’s vehicle, causing severe injuries to his head, neck, back, right shoulder, arm, knee and hand. As explained by Mr. Hurt and as confirmed in the Fallon Ambulance Report, “Bystanders stated patient was struck as car sped up and patient rolled over car.” As Mr. Hurt suddenly saw the vehicle speeding towards him, he saw the driver, Mr. Louis, looking down at something in his vehicle just before his 2010 Ford Fusion struck Mr. Hurt, hurling his body into the air and behind the vehicle.

As a direct result of your insured’s actions and/or those actions of the operator of your insured’s vehicle, Mr. Hurt sustained substantial personal injuries and was transported by ambulance to South Shore Hospital for serious injuries to his head, neck,  back, right hip, right shoulder, arm, knee and hand among other injuries.  Based on the above described events, liability in this case is clear.

At the time of collision, Mr. Hurt had just exited the store and was on his way to his first day of work as an Apprentice electrician. After looking both ways, Mr. Hurt had taken several steps out into Union Street in the direction where his vehicle was parked across the roadway. As Mr. Hurt continued crossing Union Street, the vehicle operated by Mr. Louis, came flying around the curve in the road at an unsafe rate of speed striking Mr. Hurt. The impact literally threw Mr. Hurt up and over your insured’s vehicle, causing Mr. Hurt to be thrown onto the windshield and up and over the roof onto the trunk of the car, ultimately being thrown onto the asphalt pavement below. As Mr. Hurt was lying in the roadway, he looked over to the side of the road where her saw four (4) young girls crying. Mr. Hurt was examined by the EMT’s, immobilized with a full C-spine board to prevent further spinal injury, and was transported via ambulance to South Shore Hospital Emergency Department, for injuries to his head, right hip, neck, back, right shoulder, right knee, right arm and hand, among other injuries.

At approximately 6:57 on the morning of October 29th, Mr. Hurt arrived via ambulance at the Emergency Department of South Shore Hospital, Weymouth, Massachusetts.  Mr. Hurt informed the attending Emergency Room Physician of his severe hip and head pain, knee and shoulder pain. Mr. Hurt had several lacerations and abrasions to the face, leg and other parts of this body as well as a deep laceration to his head requiring surgical staples to repair a large gash in his scalp. Mr. Hurt’s wounds were immediately cleaned and covered and diagnostic imaging was ordered for the right hip, clavicle, knee and pelvis. The attending Emergency Department doctors ordered multiple rounds of fentanyl for persistent pain and ordered CT scans of the head and cervical spine, and x-rays of the knee, shoulder and pelvis. X-Rays ultimately revealed a left intertrochanteric hip fracture.  Mr. Hurt was immediately scheduled for surgery to repair his fractured left hip

Dr. Christopher Gray performed the surgery to repair Mr. Hurt’s fractured left hip on October 29, 2011.  Mr. Hurt underwent a left short trochanteric nailing to repair the left hip fracture.  Mr. Hurt spent the next several days at South Shore Hospital recovering from his injury, which included physical therapy, and was ultimately discharged on November 3, 2011.

Mr. Hurt was treated with rehabilitative physical therapy and also followed up with Steven Matthews, D.O. at Braintree Rehabilitation where Dr. Matthews evaluated Mr. Hurt’s healing progress and his rehabilitation.

Following his treatment at South Shore Hospital, Mr. Hurt continued to require home assistance from the Visiting Nurse Associates of America (“Visiting Nurses”).  Mr. Hurt was aided by visiting nurses from November 4, 2011 to November 28, 2011.  Throughout his rehabilitation, Mr. Hurt required assistance with his activities of daily life, including using the bathroom and walking around his home.  Mr. Hurt also received at home physical therapy from the Visiting Nurses.

Mr. Hurt continued his post-operative visits with Dr. Gray. Dr. Gray determined that there was a direct causal relationship between Mr. Hurt’s injury and the intertrochanteric hip fracture and an indirect causation between the mild arthritis, greater trochanteric bursitis and possible avascular necrosis, as there are secondary to his injury and need for surgery.  Dr. Gray also noted that Mr. Hurt may need to undergo further treatment including, but not limited to, steroid injections or trochanteric bursitis, physical therapy for trochanteric bursitis, steroid injections for mild hip osteoarthritis, and the possibility that he may require hardware removal and conversion to total his atyhoplasty if he develops significant avascular necrosis.  Dr. Gray also advises that the total cost of hip replacement, including hospitalization, would likely exceed Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00).  Dr. Gray also determined that Mr. Hurt was totally disabled from the time on the incident forward for a period of sixteen (16) weeks.  As of November 1, 2012, Dr. Gray determined that Mr. Hurt remains partially disabled and will be permanent for the foreseeable future.

Due to the incident, Mr. Hurt also lost significant time from his employment.  We are in a process of obtaining documentation with respect to Mr. Hurt’s lost wages.  Upon receipt we will forward the same to your attention with a supplemental demand.

SPECIALS

Provider Dates of Treatment Amount
South Shore Hospital 10/29/2011 – 11/3/2011 $30,931.71
St. Vincent Physician Services, Inc. 11/2/2011 – 11/3/2011 $393.00
Assoc. Phys @ BIDMC 11/11/2011 $362.00
UMass Memorial Medical Center 11/18/2011 – 3/14/2012 $5,450.04
Visiting Nurse Associates of America 11/4/2011 – 11/28/2011 $525.00
Christopher J. Gray, M.D. 10/30/2011 – 2/21/2012 $4,560.00
Prescriptions 11/3/2011 – 1/23/2011 $413.21
TOTALS: $42,634.64

One of the most outrageous aspects of this incident is that it never should have occurred. As indicated above, Mr. Hurt observed the driver, Mr. Louis, looking down in the moments before the Ford Fusion struck Mr. Hurt. This accident could easily have killed Mr. Hurt or other pedestrians and children who were in the area.

M.G.L. c.90§14 provides, “Upon approaching a pedestrian who is upon the traveled part of any way and not upon a sidewalk, every person operating a motor vehicle shall slow down. As Mr. Hurt explained and as the witness accounts per the Fallon Ambulance report state in part, “Bystanders stated patient was struck as car sped up and patient rolled over car.”

The Massachusetts Driver’s Manual further provides:

“Remember, the law says that you must slow down and stop if necessary if a person is walking in the street you are traveling on.”

“You must always yield to pedestrians who are walking in or crossing a roadway.

As you know, in Massachusetts, an insurer has an obligation to promptly and equitably settle insurance claims after liability has become reasonably clear. Chapter 176D, §3(f). Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93A, §9, as recently amended, allows claimants to file suit under Chapter 93A for an insurance company’s unfair claims settlement practices §3(9). The act subjects defendants to potential exposure for double or treble damages, attorney’s fees, and related costs. Chapter 93A, §9(3). Double damages shall and treble damages may be imposed if there is a finding either that the unlawful act was entered into by the insurer knowingly or the insurer failed to make a reasonable offer of settlement upon demand with knowledge or reason to know that the practice complained of violated §2 of the act.

The knowledge or reason to know in the latter case is that which exists after receipt of the complaint and not at the time of the alleged violation.  Heller v. Silverbranch, 382 N.E. 2d 1065 (1978). “The standard is objective and requires the defendant to investigate the facts and consider the legal precedents.” Id. at 1070. The Court has found ample support for an award for multiple damages where the letter of demand has set out the pertinent text of Chapter 93A and delineated the unfair practice. Id. at 1071. Under the facts, the Court found that the insurer unlawfully forced the claimant to litigate its claims even though the insurer not only had reason to know but had actual knowledge of the unlawfulness of its acts. Id. at 1071. It should also be noted that the burden is on the insurer to show the reasonableness of any settlement offer made in response to the claimant’s demand. Patry v. Harmony Homes, Inc., 404 N.E. 2d 1265 (1980). A settlement offer made which is later determined to be unreasonable will still subject the insurer to multiple damages. Id.

Chapter 93A’s provisions for multiple damages is an attempt by the legislature to promote pre-litigation settlement by making it unprofitable for the insurer to either ignore the claimant’s request for relief or to bargain with the claimant’s with respect to such relief in bad faith. M.G.L. Chapter 93A, §9(3); Heller v. Silverbranch, 376 Mass. 621, 627; 382 N.E. 2d 1065, 1070 (1978).

In light of the negligent and reckless actions of the operator of your insured’s operator, Michael Louis, the injuries suffered by Mr. Hurt as a result of the October 29, 2011 accident, the substantial pain and suffering he has endured, the loss of function he has experienced, and his ongoing medical needs, we hereby renew our demand for settlement of this claim in the amount of $375,000.00. In the event we are unable to come to a resolution of this claim, it is our intention to forward a copy of this demand to the insured prior to filing suit, so that he is aware of his potential exposure in this matter.

Very Truly Yours,

Joseph K. Curran, Jr.

Via Fax & Regular Mail

cc:        Client

Construction Site Accidents, injury, medical malpractice, Motorcycle Accidents, Negligent Security, pedestrian accidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Trucking Accidents, wrongful death

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