A personal injury demand letter initiates the negotiation process, and as the injured party, you must create the strongest possible arguments for your claim. The details you include will start at the point of impact to your last day of treatment. It helps the adjuster understand the loss you have experienced due to the insured’s negligence.
A well-written demand letter has the ability to limit the adjuster’s objections to the amount of your settlement demand. Because of its importance, it’s usually better to let an experienced attorney write this letter. If you do plan on writing it yourself though, read on.
Your demand letter must contain arguments related to:
- What your injuries were and are
- Why the other party is legally responsible for your injuries
- Details related to your medical treatments including cost
- Details related to loss of income
- Damages suffered as a result of the injury
Before you start to draft your letter, review all your notes from the days and weeks following your accident. This will serve as a reminder to the pain, discomfort, inconvenience, lost income, and medical treatments you have had to endure.
When you start drafting the demand letter, follow this layout:
- The heading
- Your name, address, contact detail
- The name of the insurance company, the adjuster’s name and title, and the company’s address
- The date
- Include the statement “For Settlement Purposes Only” so the adjuster knows the information included in the letter cannot be used if the case go to trial
- “Re:” followed by the claim number and information
- The Body
- An introduction section that lets the adjuster know your treatment has concluded and you are ready to start settlement negotiations
- The details of your accident and details that remove any hint of fault on your part
- The injuries section that sets out your specific treatment, including the full extent of mental and physical pain you’ve experienced. Don’t hold back! Emphasize your pain, the length and difficulty of your recovery, the negative impact on your daily life, any long-term or permanent disability injuries, etc.
- The liability section should leave no doubt of the insured’s liability by referencing witness statements, etc. Describe how the accident happened and why the insured person is at fault. Give an account of what you were doing immediately before the accident and how it occurred. You may refer to supporting documents you have such as the police report, building code sections, or witness statements.
- The special and general damages section which details the compensation you’ve incurred for medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and past and future suffering. Include a complete list of each medical provider who treated you and the amount paid to each. In regards to lost wages, refer to documentation from your employer verifying your pay and the missed time.
- The settlement demand section should state a specific amount of money you want as total compensation for your pain, suffering, lost income, and other losses. Use a figure that is higher than what you think your claim is actually worth – a general rule is about 75% to 100% higher than what you would be satisfied with. This allows room for negotiation with the insurance adjuster.
- In the closing section, thank the adjuster for his assistance and provide a timeframe for their response.