A demand letter is a written communication that outlines the claim and settlement demand in a personal injury case. It serves as the first step in the negotiation process and sets the tone for the entire claim. Crafting an effective demand letter is crucial as it can significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury claim. Insurance companies often take demand letters seriously and may be more willing to negotiate a fair settlement when presented with a well-crafted demand letter.
For example, let's say you were involved in a car accident and suffered injuries due to the negligence of another driver. In your demand letter, you would outline the details of the accident, the injuries you sustained, and the impact it has had on your life. By presenting a strong argument and demonstrating your understanding of the case, you can increase your chances of receiving a favorable settlement offer.
Gathering all relevant evidence is crucial before writing a demand letter. This evidence may include medical records, accident reports, witness statements, photographs, and any other documents that support your claim. By thoroughly analyzing the evidence, you can effectively present the strengths of your case and address any potential weaknesses.
For instance, if you slipped and fell in a grocery store due to a wet floor, you would gather evidence such as surveillance footage, witness statements, and medical records showing the extent of your injuries. By including this evidence in your demand letter, you can demonstrate the liability of the store owner and strengthen your claim for compensation.
Crafting the Demand Letter
When crafting a demand letter, it is important to consider the tone and style. The letter should be professional, concise, and persuasive. Emphasize the key facts of the case, including the events leading up to the injury and the impact it has had on your life. Provide medical evidence, such as doctor's reports and test results, to support your claims.
For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you would describe the circumstances of the accident, the injuries you sustained, and the medical treatment you have undergone. By using appropriate medical terminology to accurately describe the injuries and their effects, you can strengthen your argument and demonstrate the severity of your injuries.
Damages and Settlement Demand
In your demand letter, list all economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the injury. Calculate non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Consider using a multiplier of the total medical expenses to determine the value of non-economic damages.
For instance, if your slip and fall accident resulted in $10,000 in medical expenses, you might use a multiplier of three to calculate non-economic damages. This would result in a demand for $30,000 in non-economic damages, in addition to the economic damages.
When writing your demand letter, consider informing the insurance adjuster that it is a prefiling settlement demand. This indicates your willingness to negotiate before taking legal action. It is important to clarify that nothing in the demand letter will be admissible in court, as it is an attempt to resolve the matter outside of litigation.
Seeking the assistance of a personal injury attorney can also help ensure that your demand letter is properly tailored and persuasive. Additionally, you can use sample demand letters as a reference and guide to help structure your own letter. Reviewing successful demand letters can provide insight into effective strategies and language to use in your own letter.