Sample Demand Letter | Wrongful Death
Mr. Daniel Greenly
Davis & Greenly
7849 Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Re: Dan v. Patrick, et al.
Case No. 24-C-17-080463
You have asked for a demand letter articulating the foundation for our demand in anticipation of our upcoming mediation in this wrongful death motorcycle accident case.
The Plaintiffs in this case - the survivor of Mr. Evans - are one of the nicest families I have ever had the privilege of representing. You will enjoy meeting them. Additionally, a representative of Ringler Associates may attend the mediation to digest any settlement offers in a meaningful way should you come seriously prepared to negotiate in good faith as you have pledged to me several occasions.Facts of the Motorcycle Accident
On January 6, 2021, at approximately 1:30 p.m., the Decedent, Kevin E. Evans, was lawfully operating his motorcycle on the favored roadway, traveling northbound on Route 50 approaching its intersection with Route 2. Defendant Hathaway was operating a 2018 Freightliner Truck, traveling westbound on Missouri Avenue, the unfavored roadway.
Defendant Hathaway failed to yield to Kevin E. Evans’s right-of-way and entered the intersection of Missouri Avenue and Route 301. See Exhibit “A,” the preliminary MAARS Police Report, and Exhibit “B,” the accident reconstruction report that includes the witness statements taken by the investigating officers.
Defendant Hathaway left the scene of the accident and was later arrested. Defendant Hathaway denied any knowledge of the accident, and to date, we do not believe any criminal charges were brought against him. Kevin E. Evans was taken by ambulance to Southern Maryland Hospital, where, at approximately 3:30 p.m., he was pronounced dead. His cause of death was torso injuries and there was no evidence of any drugs or alcohol in his system. See Exhibit “C,” the autopsy report.
Kevin E. Evans suffered from pre-impact fright and conscious pain and suffering as a result of the accident. He is survived by his minor child, Katlyn Ray Manning, and his mother, Cynthia Evans, among other immediate family members.Liability
It is clear that witnesses to this accident indicate that Defendant Hathaway violated the boulevard rule by either failing to stop at the stop sign or, at a minimum, taking off from that stop sign and failing to yield the right-of-way to the Decedent’s vehicle. Additionally, we assume Defendant Hathaway’s testimony at trial would be that he never saw Mr. Evans on the roadway since he left the scene of the accident.
It is the driver of a vehicle’s duty to see what is clearly there to be seen and to yield to traffic traveling on the favored roadway. If Defendant Hathaway were to testify that he did not see the Decedent, it is not a defense to his primary negligence in this case.
There are some notations in various EMS records that suggest Mr. Evans was traveling at 60 miles per hour when the accident occurred. However, the accident reconstruction revealed that speed was not a factor or contributing cause of this accident. Truthfully, there would not even be a liability defense offered in this case if Mr. Evans was not on a motorcycle.Damages
There are two viable causes of actions in this matter: the wrongful death claims of the surviving family members, Cynthia Evans, Kevin’s mother, and Katlyn Manning, Kevin’s only biological daughter, and the survival action of the Estate of Kevin Evans.
THE SURVIVAL ACTION
We believe there is sufficient evidence to support a significant claim for conscious pain and suffering and pre-impact fright on behalf of the Estate claim. I have attached a copy of the ambulance run sheet and the notes of the paramedics who were on the scene as Exhibit “D.” It is documented that Mr. Evans was having “agonized” breathing and was alive when the paramedics first arrived on the scene. There is evidence that he was trying to move and one of the paramedics had to hold him down. According to the EMS report, there is also evidence that he was semi-conscious when he was admitted to the hospital. In the triage note, there is an indication that Mr. Evans was oriented x3, but also confused and disoriented. See Exhibit “E.” The accident report indicates the time of the accident was 17:30, but the time of death, when they lost Mr. Evans’s pulse for the last time, was 19:27, nearly two hours later.
As for pre-impact fright, based on the objective evidence left in the roadway, Kevin Evans took evasive action on his motorcycle to avoid a collision with Defendant Hathaway: however, he was unable to avoid crashing into the middle-rear of the driver’s side of the truck operated by Defendant Hathaway. See Exhibit “F,” photographs of the property damage to the defendant’s vehicle. Also contained within the motorcycle accident reconstruction report is an indication that gouge marks were left in the roadway from the impact.
We believe the value of conscious pain and suffering and the pre-impact fright could potentially exceed the applicable cap. January 6, 2021, the cap on non-economic damages was $890,000. As for the additional economic losses for the Estate, I have itemized what we have to date:
The Estate Claims
Funeral Expenses $ 7,573.00
Medical Expenses $ 24,367.02
Pain & Suffering $ 890,000.00
The Wrongful Death Claims
Pain & Suffering for two primary beneficiaries: $1,335,000.00
Economic Support for Katlyn Ray Manning $336,000.00
($21,000 annually until she is 21)
College - 4 years State School $ 39,000.00
Total Specials Damages: $2,621,940.02
The current economic support claim for Katlyn Ray Manning of $21,000 annually is based on what Mr. Evans contributed in the past and was reasonably expected to contribute in the future. However, the actual economic loss is more extensive than those simple numbers.
We are not simply pulling in numbers to add value to this claim in this demand letter. Mr. Evans’s family compellingly expressed to us that his goal, not simply his desire, was to earn enough money so that he could pay for his daughter’s college education and still support her while she attended classes. He wanted nothing to get in the way of his daughter’s educational success.
We have very conservatively estimated what it would cost for Katlyn to attend four years of college to obtain a nursing degree. Based upon a printout of the 2020-2021 tuition fee schedule from the University of Maryland at Baltimore website (attached hereto as Exhibit “G”), the full-time nursing undergraduate program would cost approximately $7,803 per year ($31,212 for 4 years). Add to this approximately $2,000 per year for books and school supplies, for a very conservative estimate of $39,212 for Katlyn to obtain her nursing degree. Should we proceed to trial, we would obviously retain experts to give us a more solid estimate. But it is hard to quarrel with these numbers.
As for the wrongful death portions of the claim, we also obviously believe this to be a cap case on non-economic damages. Mr. Evans was the oldest brother of his family, a responsibility he clearly took seriously. At the time of his death in this motorcycle accident, he was working two different jobs, and his brother, Dan, talked him out of working a third job, reminding Mr. Evans that it would be less time he would be able to spend with his daughter, Katlyn. To summarize: this was a great man.
Frank Evans, Mr. Evans’s brother, recalls a time when their mother, Cynthia Evans, cut off Christmas and Kevin showed up at the house with presents, saving Christmas for them that year. He also recalls how all three brothers, Kevin, Dan, and Frank, played basketball together every weekend and how Kevin Evans was a fixture at his alma mater's high school basketball games.
When Deloris Evans, Mr. Evans’s youngest sister, became pregnant at 18, Kevin was always there for her, driving her to her sonogram appointment and giving her the keys to his car, the car he was so proud of and worked so hard for, so that she could drive herself to her doctor appointments.
Kevin Evans was also completely devoted to his daughter, Katlyn Ray Manning. He was in a superior economic situation to Ms. Alimorris Manning, Katlyn’s mother, and paid the bulk of support for Katlyn. Kevin Evans’s ultimate goal was not only to be able to pay for Katlyn’s college education but to ensure that she did not have to work while she attended college so that she could focus on her studies.
This is an easy thing to suggest in a wrongful death case, the fact that the Decedent made future intentions to provide support, but this family is passionately unequivocal that this was his intention.
Katlyn is a bright, charming young lady, and an excellent student. She has received awards from her school for overall academic performance and her teachers recognize her potential, drive, and dedication to her studies. See Exhibit “H,” documents regarding Katlyn’s academic performance and potential. She certainly is demonstrating the work of a student who is college-bound.
She has dreams and desires of attending college and going into the nursing field. Katlyn received some grief counseling through school but was unable to continue with private counseling as her mother could not afford the ongoing counseling.
When Kevin Evans was alive, his caring and generosity extended to Katlyn’s two younger sisters, whose father is not active in their lives. Mr. Evans stepped into their lives as a father figure and made it a point to take an interest in their lives, so much so that they called him “Dad.”
As you can see from the words and feelings expressed by his family and friends in the Memorial booklet, attached hereto as Exhibit “I,”, Kevin Evans’s death has left giant holes in the lives of his family and friends. His family continues to miss and yearn for the love, warmth, companionship, and guidance they generously received from him.Settlement Negotiations to Date
The defendants’ initial offer was $500,000. This is not a good faith offer to settle this claim. You have assured me this is not where you really are on the settlement value of this case and that your adjuster has the authority to settle this case for a number that exceeds our demand. (Again, I'm not demanding that you offer that amount. We just don't want to go through the "I have to make a phone call" drill.)
I look forward to seeing you on the 17th.
Very truly yours,
Ronald V. Miller, Jr.
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