A personal injury demand letter is the first step in the personal injury claim negotiation process. The letter usually includes a description of the accident, the matter of liability, a description of any injuries resulting from the accident, descriptions of any resulting medical treatments, a description of any losses incurred and a demand for compensation.
Once the personal injury demand letter is completed, it is sent to the liable party’s insurance company. It is also important to send the correct documentation to support your demand letter. These documents include:
- Copies of medical bills
- The accident report
- Photographs of any injuries
- Doctors’ statements and other substantiating materials
Note that this demand letter must be put together properly and with sufficient supporting evidence accompanying it.
Why is the Personal Injury Demand Letter so Important?
The personal injury demand letter is the starting point of negotiations with the insurance company. Think of it as the foundation upon which your entire settlement will be built. It is the first step in an oftentimes lengthy and stressful process.
Because the personal injury demand letter is such an important document in a personal injury claim, it is usually not a good idea to compose this letter yourself. You may have considered purchasing a demand letter “template” or downloading one from the Internet. It is important to understand, however, that each personal injury claim is different and templates that try to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach are usually not sufficient. If the demand letter is not created properly, it could result in lost compensation. This is why it is crucial to have a personal injury attorney prepare and submit the personal injury demand letter on your behalf.
What Happens When My Personal Injury Demand Letter is Sent?
Once the insurance company receives the personal injury demand letter from your attorney, the individuals who work for the insurance agency will analyze the demands and claims made in the letter. It is unlikely that they will just agree to your initial terms. Typically they will respond to your demand letter with a counter offer. In some cases, however, the insurance company will not respond to the letter at all. This is often the case when the letter has not been submitted by an attorney. If the demand letter is ignored completely by the insurance company, you will need to file suit in a court of law to obtain compensation from the liable party.
What Happens When If I Receive a Counter Offer?
When an insurance company does reply to your personal injury demand letter with a counter offer, you are not obligated to accept the counter offer. You should discuss with your attorney whether he or she feels that the offer is fair or if he or she feels that you are entitled to more compensation. If your attorney feels that you are entitled to more compensation, they will write a counter offer to the insurance company’s counter offer for you. This process will go back and forth until a settlement is agreed upon.
The Importance of a Personal Injury Attorney
It is crucial that you consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Your lawyer can begin to gather the documentation necessary for a strong personal injury demand letter. They will be able to start the process quickly so you can receive your settlement in a timely manner.