If you have suffered serious injuries as a result of a car accident and are considering filing a personal injury claim, one of the first steps in the process involves writing and sending a demand letter. This article will explain what a demand letter is and what you can expect after sending one.
What Is a Demand Letter?
A demand letter is a formal document sent to the at-fault party's insurance company outlining:
- The injuries you sustained
- The associated medical treatment and expenses
- The dollar amount you are seeking as compensation
This letter kick-starts settlement negotiations. It communicates your intent to pursue a fair settlement.
Your car accident demand letter should be factual, concise, and professionally presented. It should include evidence supporting your claim, such as:
- Any other documents that detail the result of the accident and its impact on your life
Composition of a Demand Letter
Typically, a demand letter in a car accident case includes the following elements:
- Description of the accident: Here, you provide a detailed account of the auto accident, including the date, location, and involved parties.
- Statement of fault: Clearly state why the other driver is the at-fault party, referring to police reports or witness statements if available.
- Injuries and medical treatment: Describe the serious injuries you suffered as a result of the accident and the ensuing medical treatment.
- Medical expenses: Provide a detailed list of your medical bills and future projected costs related to your injuries.
- Lost income: If the accident caused you to miss work, document the amount of income you lost.
- Noneconomic damages: Discuss the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have experienced due to the accident.
- Property damage: If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, provide repair or replacement estimates.
- Demand for compensation: State the dollar amount you are seeking in compensation. This amount should cover all medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and noneconomic damages.
- Reservation of rights: It's advisable to include a statement that the demand does not constitute a waiver of your rights to seek further damages should the matter not settle.
- Deadline for response: Include a date by which you expect a response. This prompts the insurance adjuster to act promptly. Some lawyers will indicate that the demand expires if it is not accepted by a certain date.
A sample demand letter or template can be helpful in drafting your letter. But it is important to customize the letter to the specifics of your car accident case. Your personal injury lawyer or accident attorney can provide valuable legal advice and assist you in crafting an effective demand letter.
Sending the Demand Letter
Once you have drafted your demand letter, it is typically sent via certified mail to the at-fault driver's insurance company. The insurance adjuster will then review the letter. They may respond with a counteroffer, which can begin settlement negotiations.
Expectations After Sending the Demand Letter
After sending your demand letter, remain patient as you wait for a response. The insurance company may:
- Accept your settlement demand
Your personal injury lawyer can help guide you through this process. They can advise you on whether the insurance company's settlement offer constitutes a fair settlement.
In some cases, the at-fault party's insurance company may deny your claim outright. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as:
- Believing their insured was not at fault
- Claiming you have not provided enough evidence
- Asserting that the medical treatment received was not necessary or reasonably priced
If your claim is denied, your next step may be to escalate the matter by filing a personal injury lawsuit. At this point, your attorney can provide valuable counsel, considering your case specifics and jurisdiction (for example, Florida's personal injury laws).
Remember, the client relationship with your attorney is crucial in ensuring effective negotiation with the insurance company and pursuing a successful personal injury claim.
A Good Demand Letter Can Win Your Case
Drafting and sending a demand letter is a vital part of your car accident claim process. While it might seem frightening, remember that you're not alone in this. An experienced personal injury attorney or accident lawyer can guide you every step of the way. They can make sure your demand letter accurately represents your case and helps you seek the compensation you deserve. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer.
The information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal advice. It's always best to consult with an attorney for any legal concerns or questions.
Disclaimer: Each personal injury case is unique and depends on the specifics of the accident, the insurance policy of the at-fault party, and the injuries sustained. So the process and outcomes described in this article may not apply to all cases.