Tips For Writing A Demand Letter In A Personal Injury Case

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Legally reviewed by Joey Rafaeli on July 12, 2022 Joey Rafaeli is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

If you have been injured in an accident, you may be wondering if you should write a demand letter to the responsible party. A demand letter is a formal notice that requests compensation for your injuries. It is important to note that demand letters are not required in every personal injury case, but they can be helpful in some situations.

Before you decide to write a demand letter, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you understand the laws in your state and whether or not a demand letter is likely to succeed in your case. If you choose to handle your own demand letter without legal support, you can count on the insurance company to take full advantage of your lack of experience. If you decide to write a demand letter, there are some important tips that you should follow:

Be Professional and Level-Headed

It is important to remember that the demand letter is a formal notice. You should avoid using threatening or aggressive language. Writing a strongly-worded letter may feel nice, but you can be sure it will do more harm than good in your case.

Be Clear About What You Are Asking For

You should state a specific dollar amount that you are requesting in your demand letter. It is also essential that you’re clear in what you’re asking. Are you requesting compensation for medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering

Make sure you are specific in your request and categorize each request according to type.

Never Request Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious, and either a judge or jury is the only one who has this option. 

Asking for punitive damages in your demand letter will only serve to harm any productive conversations that you may have with the insurer and may ruin your chances of a good-faith negotiation before it even begins.

Include a Timeline

It is important to include a timeline in your demand letter. You should state when you expect to receive a response and inform the company what will happen if you do not receive a response within that time frame. You should also be realistic in your timeline. 

If you are too demanding, the insurance company will likely ignore your letter altogether.

Send Your Letter By Certified Mail

You should send your demand letter by certified mail and request a return receipt. This will provide you with proof that the insurance company received your letter, which can be helpful if the insurer denies ever receiving it. 

This piece of advice, along with most others, highlights the importance of documenting everything, keeping this documentation organized, and using it to your advantage.

Include ALL Relevant Information – But Don’t Overshare

Your demand letter should include details about the accident, your injuries, and any medical treatment you have received. You should state your injuries and losses clearly and concisely. 

Do not try to include too much information in the letter. The insurance company will likely have its own investigators who will look into your claims, and you may inadvertently “show your cards” by giving too much information before the start of negotiations.

Come With the Facts

Be prepared to back up your demand letter with evidence. This may include medical records, police reports, and eyewitness statements. 

When the insurance company recognizes that you are organized and have a strong case, they may be more likely to make a fair settlement offer — as long as they also know that you have qualified legal representation.

Make Your Demands Reasonable, But Comprehensive

It is important to ensure that your demand covers all of your damages, but you should also be realistic in your expectations. If you choose to inflate your damages or misrepresent your injuries, the insurance company will likely recognize this and use it against you. 

They may hold out in an attempt to force you to file a lawsuit if they believe you are being unreasonable, knowing that a judge and/or jury will also recognize this.

Get Help From An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Drafting and sending a demand letter can be complicated. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of success.

Realistically, the most effective way to ensure a successful resolution to your case is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A qualified attorney will be familiar with the state laws that apply to your case and can help you navigate the insurance claims process. They will also be able to negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a fair settlement. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.

Give The Responsible Party A Reasonable Amount Of Time To Respond

You should allow the person or company you are sending the demand letter to a reasonable amount of time to respond. In most cases, 30 days is sufficient, but this will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

If you do not receive a response within your set timeframe, you should reach out to an attorney to discuss your next steps.

Ready To Demand What You Deserve? Contact Us Today

Following these tips will improve your chances of success when writing a demand letter in a personal injury case. If you have been injured in an accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. We can help you find an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. Call us today for a free consultation with an attorney in your area who can help you with your case.