Demand Letter in a Traffic Accident Case

David G. Onasas, Esquire
Forest & Mason
426 Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Re: Toll v. Dave's Bar and Grill, et al.
Case No. 24-C-06-00860633

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Dear Dave:

It was nice to speak with you last week. As you know, our original intent in this case was to file suit and see where the chips will fall. But you have asked me to give you a demand letter setting forth our claim for damages and why we believe this cases is worth $1.8 million. Again, I believe that Dave’s Bar & Grill has two concurrent $1 million policies with Erie and Safeco who have agreed to split any settlement/verdict.

We have to begin with Amy Toll. She is a amazing, beautiful young 24 year-old woman who has suffered injuries that will change the rest of her life. Your file does not and cannot, as I told you, document what a wonderful person she is. If you are looking for someone to spin a sob story, you will not be getting it in this trial. Amy is a fighter who, while not conquering her injuries, fights like Ali fought Frazier. One of the reasons we were so hesitant to send out a demand package before filing this case is that it is impossible to evaluate this claim with spending an hour with Amy as the jury will.

  1. Facts of the Accident
  2. Amy Toll was traveling northbound on Baltimore & Annapolis Boulevard in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Plaintiff Toll turned on her left hand turn signal and got into the left-turn lane to make a left hand turn onto Castle Harbour Way. Plaintiff Toll came to a complete stop in the left-turn lane and was waiting for traffic to clear so she could proceed onto Castle Harbour Way. Defendant Green was traveling southbound on Furnace Branch Road. Defendant Green struck the Plaintiff”s vehicle head-on while it was completely stopped in the left-turn lane of northbound traffic.

    Defendants agree on liability and do not dispute that Defendant Mary Green was working as an agent of Defendant Dave’s Bar & Grill at the time of the accident.

  3. Medical Summary of Treatment
  4. At the time of the accident, Amy Toll was a healthy, 23 year-old girl with no prior medical history of back or neck complaints. As a result of the accident, she developed pain in her right arm and neck and was seen in the Emergency Room at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She was ultimately diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy at C5-C6 and a herniated disc at L4-L5. After her complaints of pain did not resolve, Dr. Brian Sullivan performed a bilateral L4/L5 laminoforaminotomy discectomy and right-sided L5-S1 laminoforaminotomy and discectomy on April 6, 2010.

    This case did not settle from this demand letter. Defendants offered $50,000. But the case ultimately settled for $750,000 and this demand package helped plant the seeds we later harvested. If you would like our thoughts on your case - whether you are a potential referring lawyer or a victim - call 800-553-8082 or get an online consultation.

    Regrettably, post-surgery MRIs revealed a residual disc herniation at L4-L5 and epidural fibrosis at several nerve levels. After complaints of pain continued through post-operative physical therapy, and Plaintiff Toll developed a problem with dragging of her right leg, she sought pain management treatment with Dr. Mark Coleman. After conservative efforts failed, Dr. Paul Asdourian performed bilateral L4-L5 revision laminectomies, L4-S1 posterolateral fusion with placement of Zodiac instrumentation, right iliac crest bone graft and posterior lumbar interbody fusion at L4-L5 with PEEK cages on July 20, 2011.

    Although Ms. Toll has had some improvement in recent months, this second back surgery has not made Ms. Toll significantly more functional. She attempted to return to school this semester by taking classes on-line with the Anne Arundel Community College and physically on-campus at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. While she was able to maintain her on-line classes, she dropped her UMBC classes because she was unable to attend class without disrupting other students with her inability to sit or stand still due to pain. She continues to take Hydrocodone, Skelaxin and Lidoderm for pain.

    Plaintiff Toll will elicit expert testimony from her treating doctors that she is only able to work only part-time because of the difficulty and pain she experiences when sitting. Vocational rehabilitation expert Lee Mintz is expected to testify that Plaintiff Toll has lost $81,412.50 in wages (5 months at an annual salary of $24,000.00 and $34,278.00 per year since April, 2010). Additionally, Ms. Mintz will testify that Plaintiff Toll would have eventually assumed a teaching position in the Baltimore City Public School System at a starting salary of $41,226.00 per year; and that within 10 years Plaintiff Toll would be earning $62,010.00 annually. With respect to a part-time job, which is all Ms. Toll is expected to be able to work, Ms. Mintz does not expect Ms. Toll’ salary to grow significantly beyond the range of $12,000.00 to $13,000.00 per year (50% of the clerical mean) in today’s dollars. Accordingly, her future lost wage claim is $1,372,000.00. This number is for the purpose of this mediation. At trial, we expect the number will be higher to include the yearly raises she would receive after the first 10 years and the value of the benefits she would receive as a teacher as opposed to a part-timer clerical worker where benefits are typically nonexistent.

  5. DAMAGES
  6. Past Medical Expenses to Date: $ 167,177.78
    Future Medical Expenses: TBD
    Past Lost Wages: $ 81,412.50
    ($14.00 per hour x 40 hours per week x 143 weeks)
    ($10.00 per hour x 15 hours per week x 190 weeks)
    Future Lost Wages: $ 1,372,000.00
    (10 years at an annual salary of $28,000.00)
    (28 years at an annual salary of $68,000.00)
    Pain & Suffering Cap as of July 29, 2010: $ 740,000.00
    TOTAL CLAIM FOR SPECIALS $2,390,590.20

  7. OUR OFFER TO SETTLE
  8. Ms. Toll is a beautiful young woman who will never be the same no matter what the outcome of this case. She is willing to settle today for $1.9 million. This is a nearly $400,000 discount on what this case will be worth at trial. When we file suit, this offer comes off the table.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,

MILLER & ZOIS, LLC
Ronald V. Miller, Jr.

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