Thoroughly Explain Your Pain
In your letter, feel free to describe each step in your path of recovery. Carefully and thoughtfully relate all pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the injury. When adding up your damages, make sure you list all hard costs and general damages.
Your specific damages are costs you can prove with bills, receipts and similar documents. General damages are more intangible and may include emotional pain and suffering.
If your demand for compensation is not met, you may have to pursue the matter through a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Even if you are not particularly litigious, you should be willing to file a lawsuit to protect your rights. By standing up for yourself, you can help protect the public from negligence.
What Is Included In A Demand Letter
In the legal profession, drafting a strong demand letter is somewhat of an art form. It takes good writing skills, attention to detail, knowledge of each injury, and specific knowledge of each clients human story.
The demand letter sets the tone for settlement negotiations, potentially avoiding having to follow through with a lawsuit. During settlement negotiations, your attorney and the insurance adjuster will have many discussions about the value of your claim based on all circumstances articulated in the demand letter. For this reason, a powerful demand latter is an absolutely crucial first step toward settling your file.
The demand letter itself sets out all of the damages contains medical records and bills describing the treatment youve undergone, as well as other non-economic and economic losses.
We may ask you to journal some of your thoughts along the way of treatment to accurately reflect on what you have been going through.
Examples of this can be specific instances of trouble managing your usual life with your injuries, such as caring for your children or attending your normal workout routine.
The journaling process should also describe how you are feeling as you cope with the changes the injuries have made to your life, both during recovery and long after for severe injuries.
Speak To A Car Accident Lawyer Now
Talk To A Personal Injury Lawyer
Need a lawyer? Start here.
Don’t Miss: Most Common Injuries From Car Accidents
What Happens After A Demand Letter Is Sent
After a demand letter is sent, the insurance company considers the information in the letter. They may take several actions:
- Deny the request for compensation. Typically, an insurance company must state a reason for denying a claim
- Ask for more information
- Send a counteroffer of settlement
- Accept the demand and pay the claim
The victim may file a legal claim for compensation at any time. However, the victim should pay close attention to deadlines and the statute of limitations. Sending a demand letter does not stay the statute of limitations. The victim must have their legal claim filed before the deadline expires regardless of the exchange of demand letters and negotiating settlement compensation.
Get Help From An Experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If your injury was severe, this may create a deeply complicated case. In a situation like this, youll want to contact a well-respected personal injury attorney in your area who can help you write separate demand letters to multiple parties.
Alternately, your case might involve medical malpractice. If your case is complicated, youll almost certainly want to contact an experienced attorney.
When hiring a personal injury attorney, its best to engage in complete honesty. Your attorney can prepare a better case if you provide as many details as you can.
Reach out to our team at Lorenzo & Lorenzo today for your free consultation.
Don’t Miss: White Plains Personal Injury Lawyer
Pain & Suffering Witnesses
Another idea is to get similar lists or short summary statements from family members. Family members are a great source of evidence for pain and suffering. Besides, who knows you better than your mom, dad, son, daughter, wife, husband or other close family?
When getting impact statements from family, the same words of caution apply. Dont get too detailed because then your family may become a vulnerability in your case evidence, not a strength.
Also, its a good idea to not identify the family members, otherwise, you are giving up too much too early. There is a proper way to do this generically that an attorney can help you accomplish.
Complete Failure To Respond To Demand Letter
If you waited 90 days, gently followed up one time, then did another 1-2 follow-ups but have never gotten a response, you are facing a rare failure to respond to demand letter situation.
You have two choices if the adjuster fails to respond to your demand letter, effectively ignoring it and you:
In all my experience, I can tell you this with certainty, you will want to file a lawsuit 99.99% of the time. Why?
You just called the adjusters supervisor and got the adjuster in trouble. Do you really think that adjuster is going to do you any favors or offer the top value within that adjusters settlement authority? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
What I would do in this situation is file a lawsuit. A different, litigation adjuster, will often get assigned to the file. That adjuster, or the insurance companys lawyer, will eventually reach out to you. At that point I would tell that person:
the only reason I filed suit is because the pre-litigation adjuster was not responding to my demand letter or follow-ups, do you think we can settle this case or should we proceed with discovery and depositions?
Some cases will settle with this approach, some will not. Regardless, it is a part of my arsenal that I have on standby to use for my clients to short circuit litigation and quickly get cases resolved and put money in their pockets.
Next up, a sample personal injury demand letter. Alternatively, return to the .
You May Like: Chances Of Walking After Spinal Cord Injury
Demand Letter Asks For Too Little
This is straightforward you do not know how much your case is worth, or the real value range of your case, so you might end up demanding too little. What do you think the adjuster will do?
Lets answer with some illustrations, assuming your case is worth between $10,000 to $13,000:
You demand $9,000 from the adjuster .
A reasonable person might expect the adjuster to be ecstatic, because you demanded the bottom of the value range, and to immediately accept this demand and settle the case. That will not happen.
This is what the adjuster will do:
The adjuster will treat your starting number of $9,000 as the top of your settlement demand range, and reset the negotiation values to get you lower.
If this happens, you have dug yourself into a hole that you cant dig out of without filing a lawsuit, or accepting an unfair settlement.
Purpose Of A Personal Injury Demand Letter
If you have been involved in an auto accident, and you want to file a claim against another partys insurance, there are benefits to sending a demand letter. The demand letter lets them know that you are holding them responsible for your damages. It allows you to present the details and evidence to support your claim.
When you send a demand letter, you are establishing a foundation for a lawsuit. However, if you are convincing and provide adequate evidence to indicate the other party is liable for your damages, then you may be offered a settlement out of court. You dont want to settle too quickly or for too little, so be sure to talk with a personal injury attorney before reaching an agreement with the insurance for your auto accident injury claim.
The purpose of a demand letter is to show the other party and their insurer that you are serious. It will give them the opportunity to consider the options and to make up their mind about what to do regarding the situation. Sending a demand letter isnt intended as an opportunity for you to insult the other party, or to create a bad relationship between you. Remember that the demand letter should be professional and to the point because if your claim ends up as a lawsuit in court, the presiding judge will read the initial demand letter that you sent.
Recommended Reading: Personal Injury Settlement And Medicaid Eligibility
Vi Future Employment For The Plaintiff
Prior to the automobile collision, Ms. Jacksons employment history consisted of various sales positions with retail establishments. As this employment required Ms. Jackson to stand for extended periods of time on her feet and to be mobile throughout the entire day, she can no longer return to this type of employment. Ms. Jackson has selected a new area for employment in light of the continuing problems with her knees. She has decided to become an optometrist and is currently attending the Southern College of Optometry located in Memphis, Tennessee
. Following the completion of her education, she hopes to become employed as an optometrist. This line of work will give her the freedom to become gainfully employed in a career where she is not required to stand or sit for any extended periods of time, thereby relieving the stress and pain on both of her knees that is associated with an eight hour physically demanding job.
Tips For An Effective Injury Demand Letter
Be polite and reasonable in your demand letter. Engaging with an insurance company politely can invite compromises and a simpler claims process. Filing an angry demand letter could lead to a drawn-out legal battle or lawsuit. Be specific in your demands, spelling out a particular resolution, such as a specific amount of money to be paid by the defendant by a certain date. Mention the possibility of a lawsuit if the insurance company does not meet your demands. If your demand letter does not elicit a satisfactory response, you may need a lawyers assistance.
Let the Heavy Hitters Take On Your Case
Don’t Miss: Personal Injury Attorney In Houston
Demand Letter Tip #6do Not Request A Specific Dollar Amount
It takes years, and hundreds of cases, to understand case values in personal injury cases and calculating their worth. Kindly put, you do not know how much your case is worth.
Knowing that, I hope you agree you should not speak first during this negotiation . Let the insurance adjuster speak first and make an offer. Even if its a lowball offer, thats the starting point from where you should be working, not a random number that you think your injuries and case are worth.
Work from the adjusters starting number, and build your way up by justifying why your case is worth more. This is a much better approach than guessing a number that is way off, and way too much, which will thwart meaningful negotiations.
How Important Is A Demand Letter For A California Injury Case
If the settlement is less than $10,0000, you must send a demand letter before going to small claims court. The demand letter gives all the reasons you require compensation from the insurance company.
A demand letter starts legal negotiations and influences the insurance company to settle faster rather than proceeding to court. If they do not settle your case, you may need to file a lawsuit in court.
Read Also: Full Coverage Bodily Injury Limits
Who Do You Send A Demand Payment Letter To
Naturally, youll need to adjust the tone of your letter depending on the recipient.
If you are writing to a family member, you may want to maintain an extra polite tone. In fact, its not a bad idea to write with as little emotion as possible. Sticking to the facts and staying focused can help you write a more effective letter.
Or you might write a demand letter to another driver who injured you in a car accident. Alternatively, you might have to submit your letter to the drivers insurance company. If you were injured at a place of business, you might need to send a payment demand letter to the businesss negligent owner.
Demand Package For Settlement
In lawyer talk, a settlement demand refers to your request for a specific amount of money to settle the case This can happen before a lawsuit is filed or after.
In contrast, in lawyer talk, the demand package is the written submission made to the insurance company inviting the insurance company to settle a case. This is almost exclusively done before a lawsuit is filed.
A demand package will include:
Insurance demand letter
Other injury/claim specific documents
Sometimes, with some insurance companies, it is a wasted effort to send them a demand package for settlement.
For example, State Farm has earned the nickname of Snake Farm amongst many lawyers, for refusing to honestly evaluate claims for its insured clients. Many lawyers will tell you that Snake Farms claim practices are so disingenuous that you are better off just filing a lawsuit and not wasting your energy preparing a demand package.
When to send a demand package, and for which scenarios, to which insurance companies, etc., is decided on a case by case basis which is something you should discuss with your lawyer.
If youve determined that you need to write a demand letter, which will be part of your demand package, continue to Chapter 2 learn how to write that letter. Or, return to the and jump to another Chapter to find what youre looking for.
Don’t Miss: Slip And Fall Back Injury
When To Use A Demand Letter For Your Car Accident Claim
You should wait until you are near the end of your medical treatment before sending your demand letter. Your doctor may prescribe more medical treatment in the future, resulting in increased costs to add to your claim.
Consider how much time you have left to file your claim. California has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of an injury to file a personal injury claim. If you discover an injury after the accident, you have one year from the date of discovery of your injury to file your claim.
You should send the legal demand letter with enough time left within the statute to file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company doesnt agree to a reasonable car accident settlement. If you wait too long, you could lose your opportunity to collect damages.
When Settling Injury Cases Are Difficult
Some injury cases will either automatically settle or will automatically have to be tried in front of a jury and judge. I am referring to wrongful death cases. The reason why, and as an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer I know, is the value of the case is so extremely high. So, there is insurance to cover it or not. So, the individuals who would be the defendants if we brought suit might be rich. In that case, we would not settle with the insurance company and get a judgment. That way the insurance company will pay their insurance policy limits and the individuals would have a judgment that we could collect against them personally after the trial. If they are broke, then the case will be quick because the insurance company will cut the check. If they are rich, look for a long wrongful death trial.
You see a similar event when you are dealing with trucking or 18 wheeler accidents. Again, sometimes the key is how much insurance is available for the injuries from the wreck. In a car accident case, you might be working with the legal minimum insurance requirements of twenty-five thousand per person and that is it. On the other hand, if were injured by a commercial vehicle or van or truck, then call a Georgia tractor trailer injury lawyer because the insurance company will play hardball. For many of the same underlying reasons that we looked at in Georgia wrongful death cases.
Also Check: Slip And Fall Injury Treatment At Home
Demand Letter Tip #5do Not Set A Response Deadline
You may be tempted to set a response deadline, and tell the insurance company you will file a lawsuit if you dont get a response by that deadline. Do not do this, it is a terrible idea for so many reasons.
For one, the adjuster can be busy or behind, and will not take kindly to you setting a superficial response deadline.
Also, if youre writing your own demand letter that means you do not have an attorney. Your bark has no bite when you set a deadline for the adjuster.
Lastly, if you set a deadline the adjuster could think you are desperate for fast cash, and that could entice the adjuster to work slow and flush out how bad your position really is.
Long story short, do not set a respond deadline.
Can A Person Submit A Demand Letter Without The Aid Of An Attorney
The demand letter is one of the most important documents an insurance adjuster will receive. Its importance cannot be overstated.
As a result, most people prefer to have a lawyer write one on their behalf, even in small claims court cases. Lawyers write these communications on a regular basis and know what details to include. Just as importantly, they know what not to say.
Additionally, it is sad but true that adjusters pay more attention when there is an attorney experienced in California law involved. We do not take a dime from our clients unless and until their case settles or we win at trial. Adjusters know this.
The mere fact that we have reviewed the facts and accepted a case sends the message that the claim has substance and warrants legal remedies. Adjusters are familiar with all the sample demand letters on the internet and simply do not take them as seriously.5
You May Like: Injury To Top Of Foot