A settlement demand letter is generally the first step in negotiation a personal injury claim after a car wreck or other type of injury-causing accident. This letter is sent to the other person’s insurance company and should be as convincing as possible. The insurance company will usually make a counteroffer after receiving the demand letter, and you can either choose to accept that offer or continue negotiations.
Keep in mind that the initial counteroffer is probably not the highest that the company is willing to go, and it will be in your best interests to hold out for a more substantial settlement. An effective demand letter will contain the following five elements:
The Nature and Extent of Your Injuries
You will need to provide documentation that describes exactly how your injuries happened and the extent of their seriousness. It’s best to present this information in the form of documentation from your health care provider.
Treatment and Cost
Your demand letter should also include documentation on what specific medical treatments were necessary as a result of the accident and how much they cost. Your health care provider can provide you with this information.
Lost Income Information
You should also include information regarding any lost income in your demand letter. For instance, if your injuries caused you to miss four months of work, you’ll need to calculate the amount of your lost wages. Lost wages isn’t the only thing that you can be compensated for, however — if you had been collecting unemployment benefits but were denies because of your inability to accept suitable work, you will be able to claim those as well.
If you are a student and your studies were substantially affected due to the accident, you may be able to recoup lost tuition and other expenses related to your education.
Why the Other Person Was at Fault
Your settlement claim hinges on why the other party should be held legally responsible for your injuries. You will need to supply copies of police reports, eyewitness accounts, and any other documentation that can help to prove that the other person was at fault.
This is where the services of a experienced personal injury attorney can make a significant difference in your case — he or she will know the ins and outs of specific personal injury laws in your area and, therefore, be able to create a compelling argument on your behalf.
Any Other Damages You Suffered
You will also need to list and document any further financial damages that you suffered as a result of the accident. For instance, if you had substantial vehicle repairs, you should supply copies of the repair bills along with your demand letter. Contact your local attorneys for more information.