A demand letter is the centerpiece of your insurance claim process. It is a detailed document that you must create and share with the insurance company of the other party involved in the attack, highlighting your ask and the logical reason for it.
A demand letter to an insurance company must contain;
- A clear description of the physical facts of the case. The right way to do that is to answer the 5 W’s; Who, What, When, Where and Why?
- Details on what your injuries were and are
- An explanation on why the other person is legally responsible for your injuries. This should include the accident report created by police as well as photos, videos etc. that show you as the aggrieved party
- Description of your medical treatment and the costs attached to it – add proof in the forms of medical reports, hospital bills, receipts etc. wherever possible.
- A brief estimation on what your income loss for the recovery period was. This basically shows the amount you could have earned if you hadn’t been in recovery and can be in the form of a letter from your employer. Self-employed or temporary workers should provide detailed information about potential wages they could have made during the period, using historical data.
- Details of other damages you suffered, if any. This could include miscellaneous expenses, or any other costs related to the case.
- A dollar value encompassing your economic as well as non-economic damages. This value must be realistic; a very high demand might make your claim appear opportunistic and not honest. On the other hand, if you undervalue your damages, be assured the final value will be even lower.
- Why you qualify to make a claim against someone else under no-fault automobile insurance, if that applies.
Now, while this might appear to be a lengthy but simple document, it is anything but so. Not only does your entire insurance claim depend on this letter, its contents may be used to turn the case around on you. Insurance claims adjusters are solely focused on cutting a more profitable deal, which makes formal paperwork extremely risky.
If you do not have a trusted, experienced personal injury lawyer, you will need every resource available to help you build the strongest case for a fair insurance settlement. Make sure to browse through some sample letters to get your letter tight.
Stick to the Hard Facts
Make sure you are 100% confident of all the information you share in the letter. Sketch out the exact sequence of events leading up to and during the accident, including the direction you were heading, as well as the direction the at-fault driver was going. Add details like weather conditions, road changes or other details that help paint a favorable picture. Pick out relevant information from documents available to you like the police report, medical reports, witness statements etc. and use those to make a case for why you deserve a certain settlement.
In recounting the details of the accident, raise your case by denying any fault whatsoever in the accident. Even if you feel you MAY have been a tad bit careless, do not admit so in the letter. It is not your job to make an argument for comparative negligence.
However, be fair to take your own carelessness into consideration while determining what you believe is a fair settlement amount to ask for.
Use Language to Your Advantage
While you should never falsify or exaggerate your case, using the right phrases can help drive the seriousness of your need. Using a phrase like “the car slammed into me” rather than “the car hit me” hits the right tone for making a strong case. Using adjectives like “brutal,” and adverbs like “violently,” terminology.
If all of this seems too daunting, you are not wrong. Recovering after an accident and putting your life back together is a difficult journey and you cannot allow additional stresses like paperwork to burden your healing. A personal injury settlement is a tiresome process. You need to find an experienced lawyer who makes you comfortable. You need a lawyer you can communicate freely and trust completely, and be your champion at the table.
Contact us Today for Legal Assistance or Demand Letter
Attorney Riah Greathouse has worked on over a 1000 personal injury cases in Atlanta and can be your trustworthy partner in this fight. If you’ve been in a car accident and need help formulating a case, schedule a call today!