If you were hurt in an accident due to no fault of your own, drafting a demand letter is often the very first thing your personal injury lawyer will do. The demand letter has a very unique - and vitally important - role in a personal injury cases such as car accidents. A demand letter is a written request for compensation that is sent directly to the responsible party's insurance company. A well-crafted demand letter can launch your case in the right way: Firmly and aggressively. Read on to find out more about the role of the demand letter in auto accident injury cases.
The Reason For a Demand Letter
The reason that a demand letter is written it to put the responsible insurance company on notice that you plan to file a claim due to injury caused by their policy holder. The demand letter is further meant to convey the message that if the insurance company refuses to meet your settlement demands, that you will file a lawsuit to get compensation due to you.
The Financial Specifics in a Demand Letter
The demand letter will typically include some financial specifics regarding your damages. This may be either of the following.
- Exact Damages: An exact damages demand letter is one which lists all of the various damages that you have suffered, along with dollar amounts for each. This itemized list will include all your medical costs, as well as other intangible costs. For example, your accident lawyer may request a specific dollar amount in compensation for emotional trauma you suffered due to the accident.
- Policy Maximum: A policy maximum demand letter requests the insurance policy limit. Your personal injury lawyer may send this type of demand letter when your damages are very clearly in excess of the amount that the insurance policy covers. This type of demand letter may not be itemized as thoroughly as the exact damages letter because it is typically only used when the damages are extreme, and when the insurance company is not expected to fight paying the damages.
Launching Negotiations With the Demand Letter
In many cases, the demand letter serves as an invitation to begin negotiations. The insurance company will rarely pay the amount in the demand letter without at least one counter-offer. When the counter-offer is sent to your attorney, you will have the opportunity to either accept it or send a counter-offer of your own. One of the best reasons to hire personal injury lawyer is to take advantage of their expert negotiation skills. Trust your lawyer's advice regarding which offer to accept and which to counter. Your demand letter can be a highly useful tactic, especially when you work with a personal injury attorney that knows how to get the money you deserve.