You were involved in a car accident due to the other driver's fault, and now you're facing medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses as a result of the accident. Whether your injuries are minor or severe, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries from an insurance company by sending an effective demand letter.
A demand letter, which is a summary of your claim and damages, is a crucial step toward settling a car accident claim. By sending a well-drafted demand letter, you may be able to settle the claim quickly and avoid further litigation.
Prior to Drafting a Demand Letter
Before you start writing a demand letter, you should gather information to sort out the important facts and arguments to include in that letter. Refer to your notes, to police reports, and to any other relevant records so you can state the facts accurately, incorporating your strongest arguments. Prepare to explain the incident in detail, describe your injuries and damages, and request a specific payment amount.
What to Include in Your Demand Letter
Below, you'll find descriptions of important elements to include in your demand letter.
Even if the insurance company is aware of the circumstances, you should still restate the facts surrounding your accident. This is important because you will be able to deliver your side of the story. You should keep it simple and stick only to the facts. Do not exaggerate or use inflammatory language by injecting your emotions into the description.
Statement on the Other Party's Fault
Explain why the car accident was the other party's fault and how your injuries and damages resulted from the accident the other party caused. You should back up your statement with police reports, accident photos, witness statements, and any other evidence you may have.
Make an itemized chart or list of medical expenses, including details of where you were treated, who treated you, and what you were charged for that treatment. Note that the insurance company may request that you get an independent medical examination.
Include a statement detailing lost time and wages as a result of the accident. You should get a letter from your employer reflecting the lost time and the amount of lost wages or your pay level.
If there are any other losses or damages you suffered as a result of the accident, make sure to indicate them as well. You should include intangible losses like pain and suffering and an explanation of the many ways that the accident has affected your life and kept you from doing the things you enjoy, if applicable.
Total Amount of Damages
Calculate the total amount of damages, and demand the full settlement amount you are seeking to recover from the insurance company.
Attach any supporting documents that would verify your claims, such as medical records, bills, police reports, and photos.
When to Send Your Demand Letter
You shouldn't send your demand letter until you are near the end of medical treatment, the doctor informs you that your condition is stable, and you know the extent of your medical expenses. Sending the demand letter too early may cause you to underestimate the total costs of your medical treatment.
What to Expect Next
After you send your demand letter, any of the following situations may occur:
- The demand may be accepted by the insurance company and the case may proceed to settle the claim.
- You may receive a counter-offer by the insurance company.
- The insurance company may deny your claim.
Need Help with Drafting a Demand Letter? Talk to a Lawyer
A skilled attorney may be able to prepare a demand letter that's more persuasive and polished than a letter you would prepare on your own. Additionally, if the insurance company is not cooperating or agreeing to what you want, you may have to take the case to court. Contact a local car accident attorney to get help drafting a demand letter and further explore your legal options.