What Is a Personal Injury Demand Letter? | Full Overview
Getting involved in a personal injury case is sometimes messy. The negotiation process with the insurance company or the at-fault party may not always go smoothly, causing the victim to get unnecessary stress on top of the pain that their injuries are causing.
Contrary to what many people may think, a personal injury claim doesn't start with a lawsuit. People can send demand letters to the insurance company of the person responsible for the injuries. In that letter, the victim will outline the facts of the case, as well as explain the reason why the at-fault party is responsible for covering the amount of money that's being requested.
An effective demand letter will show everyone involved in the case that the victim is serious about it. There's a right way to write these letters, and this article will explain it. can also explain what personal injury fraud is.
Should Victims Send a Demand Letter?
A settlement demand letter encourages insurance companies to take action and settle the case before the victim files a legal claim. In some cases, explaining the facts about the case encourages the other party to settle everything before it escalates.
Even if the other party doesn't want to settle, a demand letter helps the victim organize their case and show that they're serious about it.
In most personal injury cases, the demand letter will be the first step into settlement negotiations. A successful letter increases the chances of getting an early offer.
Those who want to be taken seriously and have a better chance of getting fair compensation should certainly send a demand letter to the other party's insurance company.
When Should People Send a Demand Letter?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is two years. With that in mind, victims should send their demand letter as soon as possible. If the person takes too long to send their letter, and the other party refuses to settle, they may not have enough time to file a lawsuit anymore.
Talking to a professional personal injury lawyer in Dallas TX can help victims evaluate the best time to send their demand letter.
What Should People Include in Their Personal Injury Demand Letter?
Here's when things get complicated. The demand letter will likely be read by an insurance adjuster. These agents are used to reading many of these documents.
It's important to stay factual and try not to add unnecessary elements to the letter. The slightest mistake could cause the victim to not be taken seriously.
Here's an overview of what victims should include in their personal injury demand letter:
Date of the accident
Name of the insured (and policy number, if possible)
Injuries and damages
Reasons why the other party is responsible for the damages
The letter should be as specific as possible surrounding the relevant facts of the accident. It should outline who was involved, what happened, when it happened, and where. Then, the letter should list all economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be quantified in dollars. These include medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, include elements that are hard to quantify, such as depression, anxiety, emotional distress, etc. In this case, it's important to be reasonable with the amount the victim is asking. Otherwise, the other party may not take them seriously.
Explaining why the other party is responsible for the accident may be complicated, which is why it's important to attach any relevant documentation that could support the victim's claims. Here, police reports, videos, and images help.
Finally, the settlement demand should outline the total amount of compensation the person is asking for, as well as a deadline for paying. Most of the time, people give the other party 30 days to respond.
What Happens If the Victim Doesn't Get a Response?
There are many outcomes from sending a demand letter. An insurance company might:
Accept/deny the request
Send a counteroffer
Ask for more details
What happens if the other party doesn't even respond? In that case, the victim should move on and file a lawsuit. They can assert unfair practices and bad faith in their lawsuit because of the company's lack of response.
The insurance company will have to respond to the lawsuit. Otherwise, the victim will be able to request a default judgment against it.
Is It Necessary to Get a Lawyer to Send the Personal Injury Demand Letter?
While it isn't necessary to get help from a lawyer to send a demand letter, it's recommended to do so. These people can use their experience to help victims write a winning demand letter that outlines all important factors, such as medical expenses, the facts of the accident, and other relevant information.
Lawyers can also help people review settlement counter offers to see if they're appropriate. If not, they will move on with the negotiation process on the victim's behalf. This makes the process much smoother for the person, so they can focus on recovering from their injuries.
Sample Demand Letter for a Personal Injury Case
There are many sample demand letters online, so all it takes is to find one that meets the person's needs. It's still recommended to get a lawyer to review the letter to ensure there are no mistakes.
Here's a general demand letter that readers can adjust to their liking:
[VICTIM'S STREET ADDRESS]
[VICTIM'S CITY AND STATE ZIP CODE]
MONTH, DAY, YEAR
[INSURANCE COMPANY NAME]
[INSURANCE COMPANY STREET ADDRESS]
[CITY, STATE ZIP]
To [INSURANCE AGENT]
On [DATE], I was in an auto accident with your client, [OTHER PARTY'S NAME], at [ADDRESS]. He/she failed to yield the right of way at a red light, crashing into my car and injuring me. I have attached a copy of the accident report, as well as statements from one witness and photographs/videos.
As a result of the auto accident, I was taken to [HOSPITAL] to treat my injuries. I underwent diagnostic tests, surgery, and treatment. To this day, I still suffer from physical limitations, and I haven't been able to return to work at full capacity.
Here's a breakdown of my economic and noneconomic losses:
Medical bills - [AMOUNT]
Out-of-pocket expenses - [AMOUNT]
Lost wages - [AMOUNT]
Property damage [AMOUNT]
Pain and suffering - [AMOUNT]
Other losses [AMOUNT]
My losses total [AMOUNT]. After reviewing this claim with a legal professional, I believe this is a fair settlement to this case.
I look forward to your response.
Writing a demand letter shouldn't be too hard if you have enough supporting evidence to back the claims up. Documents like medical records and police reports will greatly increase the victim's chances of getting the case settled before it goes to court.
In any case, it's important to get legal assistance to ensure the letter is as comprehensive as it can be. The lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah are committed to giving their clients the assistance they need to get the money they deserve. Those interested can request a free case evaluation today.