Let’s Start with the Basics: What Is a Personal Injury Demand Letter?
Simply put, a personal injury demand letter lays out your argument to the insurance company who represents the party at fault. This could be in relation to a car accident, slip and fall, a work-related injury, etc.
The personal injury demand letter is a crucial component of your negotiation process. The demand letter is sent out at the beginning of negotiations and contains the plaintiff’s (your) most convincing arguments regarding your demand. This is where you would serve the insurance company with all evidence you have regarding the injury such as medical bills, injuries sustained, out of pocket expenses, etc.
It is extremely important to have a strong argument before approaching the insurance company. It is equally as important to leave out any weaknesses in your argument, as there is no obligation to report any weaknesses unless questioned by the insurance adjuster.
What Is Included in the Personal Injury Demand Letter?
The demand letter should be concise (1-2 pages) and organized with details of every aspect of the argument. Keep in mind that the insurance claim adjuster is dealing with multiple demands a day, so a well-organized demand letter will make their job easier and ensure a smooth negotiation process.
Personal Injury Demand Letter Checklist:
- Organized, professional language
- Your information
- The date and details of the accident
- Details of the injuries sustained
- All medical records
- Table of medical costs
- Treatment received
- Location of the medical practice
- Out of pocket expenses
- Details of damages sustained
- Confirmation of lost wages
- Pain and suffering sustained
Although you can place a requested settlement number in your list, it is not necessarily required. There is a high chance that the claim adjuster will not look at the number, as they already have a set range of value for negotiation. Attorneys will more than likely tell the plaintiff (you) to instead frame a number you are looking for in your mind before engaging in negotiations.
Pain and suffering sustained is also not necessarily required to find success with a personal injury demand letter. Most personal injury lawyers will tell you that “pain and suffering” is more of an art than a science. There will be cases where it can be relevant and cases where it could potentially hurt your case. That is a topic you should research or consult with a lawyer before adding to your letter.
Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Personal Injury Case?
There are 3 levels of personal injury and you should consider where your potential case lies before consulting a lawyer:
- Minor accident with a few bumps or bruises and the insurance is willing to pay for the expenses.
- Serious accident with maybe some deep tissue treatment needed or even acupuncture, emergency room needed, but insurance is agreeing to pay your expenses and damages.
- Very serious accident with broken bones involved, possibly caused by a collision with a drunk driver, emergency room needed, miss a long time from work, long recovery.
If you fall under the third category, you should 100 percent consult with a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers will add high value to cases that consist of broken bones and injuries sustained from incapacitated drivers such as drunk drivers. If you fall under the first and second categories, it is more than likely that you will be able to settle with the insurance companies on your own, but it never hurts to consult with a lawyer before moving forward.