In a personal injury settlement, negotiations often begin when the injured party writes a demand letter to the insurance companies. The purpose of this letter is to inform the companies of the accident and to begin the process of persuading the companies (or the other parties) to provide appropriate compensation for the injuries.
Demand letters are particularly common for cases such as automobile accidents and slip and fall cases. This is because the intervention of insurance agencies is quite common for these types of injuries. Demand letters should be clearly written and should state important facts that will be used during the upcoming negotiations.
What Should be Contained in a Demand Letter?
A properly-written demand letter should include important information such as:
- Facts related to the accident (preferably including a description of the incident)
- Facts related to the liability of the parties
- Information regarding the extent of the personal injuries sustained
- Information relating to medical treatment
- Various medical statements and bills
- A demand for a settlement amount
The settlement is perhaps the most important part of a demand letter. This is how the injured party is able to begin negotiating as to the amount of damages they may be entitled to. The settlement amount should be reasonable and in proportion to the type and extent of the injuries sustained.
What if a Demand Letter is Not Followed?
Disputes over a demand letter can make the personal injury claim process more difficult to complete. In some instances, subsequent legal action may be needed in order to clarify disputes regarding a demand letter. For instance, if there is any dispute as to the amount owed by the plaintiff, the parties may elect to request further clarification from a judge in court. If further legal action is necessary, the demand letter can be used in court as evidence.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Demand Letter?
Personal injury claims can often involve various procedural laws and requirements that need to be followed. If you have been involved in a personal injury incident, you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer for assistance. Your attorney can assist with various tasks such as preparing a demand letter, attending negotiations, and reviewing court documents. Also, your lawyer can help represent you in court during formal court meetings.