The demand letter may be one of the most important documents of your personal injury claim. It is a document that your attorney drafts and sends to the insurance company to begin settlement negotiations.
What Is the Purpose of the Personal Injury Demand Letter?
In personal injury cases, you must attempt to settle with the insurance company before filing a lawsuit. The demand letter outlines your claim and the evidence supporting it and provides a starting point for negotiations.
Typically, your requested settlement will stay within insurance policy limits. If the request in your personal injury demand letter exceeds the policy limit, the insurance company may reject it outright or, at the very least, make a counteroffer that is less than the policy limit.
But if your damages are much greater than the insurance policy limits, your demand letter should point that out. If the insurance company sees from the evidence provided in your personal injury demand letter that the policy limit is clearly inadequate to cover your damages, they will be more likely to settle for the policy limit.
The insurance company will conduct its own investigation and look for ways to deny liability, but it also has a duty to its insured to settle claims in good faith.
If an insurance company receives a personal injury demand letter requesting the policy limit and unreasonably refuses to settle, it can be on the hook for even more if a jury later determines that your damages exceed the policy limit.
If your damages do exceed policy limits, your attorney can help you explore other avenues of recovery, such as other defendants, other insurance policies, or suing the defendant directly and collecting against their assets.
Your attorney can explain more about these options, depending on the facts of your case.
What If the Defendant Does Not Have Insurance?
If the defendant does not have insurance, or their policy limits don’t cover your costs, you can attempt to negotiate with your own insurance company.
In the case of a vehicle accident, your attorney would send a demand letter to your insurer to make a claim under your underinsured motorist policy. If you do not have that type of coverage, you could then file your claim in civil court.
What Are the Components of a Demand Letter?
Your personal injury demand letter should explain the accident and the defendant’s liability, your injuries, and your expenses.
Describing the Liability
The letter tells the defendant’s insurance company why the defendant was at fault for the accident. You would back up your claims by referencing witness statements or reports, and then include copies of those documents with the letter.
It is very important that you do not admit liability in your letter. An attorney knows how to persuasively present the facts, and they know what not to say.
Therefore, having an attorney draft this letter will likely make a critical difference in the outcome of your case.
Describing Your Injuries
You should be as specific as possible when describing your injuries. You need to show the insurance company how badly the accident has affected your life. Also, include medical documentation that supports your claims.
Describing Your Expenses
Your expenses include any bills or costs related to your injuries. You also must determine your future expenses, which might require an expert’s estimate. Again, include all the documents that show your expenses.
Call the Wells Call Injury Lawyers for Help with Your Accident Case
The Wells Call Injury Lawyers are committed to helping accident victims obtain the best result when negotiating with insurance companies. If we cannot obtain a successful settlement for you, we will aggressively protect your rights in court.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation with one of our expert personal injury attorneys.