A personal injury demand letter is a document detailing how much you believe an insurance company owes you. It acts as an insurance claim containing the facts of your case. These facts include the damages or injuries you sustained, what medical treatments you need, and how much these procedures will cost.
Your demand letter will also explain why another person involved in your accident is responsible for your injury. It will contain evidence that proves why they must face legal consequences. Such evidence usually includes photos, videos, and the police report of the accident.
Gathering all this information can be exhausting, especially if your case is complicated. You will need to put in a considerable amount of effort to write an effective demand letter. Your hard work will all be worth it in the end, though, if you get the maximum settlement and compensation. Here is a look into the best practices for writing a formal demand letter.
How To Craft a Formal Demand Letter
Your primary goal for writing a personal injury claim is to get the best settlement and avoid filing a lawsuit or going to court. So, you must be as clear and detailed as possible when presenting the facts of your case.
Formal demand letters follow a progressive order regarding your case. The insurance companies you write to must know who you are, how you got injured, what damages you sustained, who will pay for such damages, and how much these people owe you. Here are the major components of a personal injury demand letter.
Your heading must be direct. Include information about:
- Yourself: Are you writing a demand letter for yourself or another person?
- The Insured: Who is at fault regarding the personal injury in this demand letter?
- The Claim: What is the accident that this letter is about?
- Reason: Why are you writing this demand letter in the first place?
Presentation of Facts
This section will be your demand letter’s body. All facts must be succinct so the person you are addressing cannot hold anything against you. Consider this format:
- Salutation: Begin with a greeting just like any other letter.
- Events Leading to Your Injuries: Talk about what happened before you got into an accident and sustained injuries.
- Description of the Accident’s Events: Explain the events that caused the accident that led to your injuries.
Be sure to include as many details about the events surrounding your accident as possible. At the same time, consider using approximations when sharing details. For instance, an approximation of “Tuesday at 9:03 PM” would be “Tuesday around 9 PM.”
Approximating details can help avoid technical arguments that insurance adjusters might make. For example, the insurance company you are demanding compensation from can dismiss your claim because of an incorrect time mentioned in your letter.
Remembering all the details of your accident can be difficult. Consider taking notes throughout your recovery so you have enough information when you prepare your demand letter. These notes will also be helpful when deciding how much compensation you should get.
Description of Damages
You must account for the damages and injuries you sustained from the accident. Damages include two types:
- Special Damages: Also known as hard costs. You can prove these damages with tangible evidence, including medicine receipts, medical bills, and lost wage statements.
- General Damages: Also known as intangible losses. You cannot measure these damages objectively since they involve pain, suffering, and emotional distress from the accident and injuries you sustained. So, you must express yourself as best as you can when describing these damages.
When writing this section of your demand letter, think of everything you went through when recovering from your injuries. Include details from the hard evidence when you mention treatments and medicines.
State how much pain and discomfort you experienced when describing your situation to give insurance adjusters a clear image of what you went through. Include details that changed your life after the injury, such as postponing important events or reallocating finances to pay for recovery.
Other changes to your life include the effects of the injuries you sustained. For instance, you may have crippled your right arm, forcing you to write with your left hand moving forward. Perhaps your injuries have also limited your ability to perform day-to-day tasks, causing strains in your personal relationships.
After detailing the special and general damages you have endured due to your accident, you must state how you feel about these changes to your life. Usually, you would express that you never wanted to suffer the injuries you sustained or the succeeding problems.
In addition, you could express that you cannot afford to miss work due to your recovery as it significantly cuts your income. On top of missing work, you had to endure constant physical, emotional, and mental pain. Adjusters must understand that your injuries have taken a toll on your body and relationships.
This section is about showing that your injuries are not your fault. Gather all your facts to prove that the insured is liable for the damages involved in the accident you are writing about. Your evidence must highlight the insured’s negligence in causing the accident, your injuries, and subsequent damages.
Adjusters might already understand that a demand letter will mention that the insured is at fault, but it is still an important detail to mention. Since this is a formal letter, you cannot leave the insurance adjuster guessing and assuming.
You must state how much you want for all the damages you have suffered. Overall, your personal injury claim is about money. Specify the exact amounts of money you are demanding to avoid going to court for a settlement.
Finally, close the letter by thanking the insurance adjuster for taking the time to go through your demand letter. Include a time limit on their response to ensure they get back to you promptly.
Should You Hire a Law Firm To Send a Demand Letter on Your Behalf?
Consider hiring professionals to handle your settlement negotiations and help you avoid more stress. While you can collect all the documents you need for your demand letter, focusing on your recovery is more important than anything else.
Hiring a law firm to handle your case will ensure you get the maximum compensation for the damages you sustained during an accident. Professionals can gather evidence, records, and important documents that prove the insured’s liability in your unique situation.
Get Expert Legal Counsel
Writing a personal injury demand letter is a complex procedure. You must include as many details about your accident as possible while remaining nonspecific enough to avoid having your words held against you.
You will also need the right documents to substantiate your claims. While you can work on collecting these records by yourself, consider that you just got into an accident. You would be better off focusing on your recovery than stressing over medical documents and police reports.
Our team of professional attorneys has handled situations like yours before and can prepare everything you need for a formal demand letter. Contact us today for a free discussion about how we can help your personal injury case.