If you have been injured in a car wreck, you should not make the mistake of just sitting back and allowing the insurance companies to offer you a fair and sufficient settlement. Insurance companies are for-profit companies, and their best interest lies in making sure that you get as little as possible for you injuries and and damages. You can make sure that the insurance company knows exactly what you expect from them by sending them a certain type of correspondence. Read on to learn more about the importance of the demand letter.
What goes into a demand letter?
No one wants to take personal injury cases to court if it can be avoided. Trying cases before a judge in a courtroom costs everyone both time and money, so settlements are the norm with personal injury cases. A settlement means that you will be paid what you need and the case is over without it ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. A good, comprehensive demand letter spells out the basics of your case in no uncertain terms and often contains the following:
- An explanation of why you feel the other party is at fault. Even if it later turns out that you share some of the fault in the accident, that issue is better left for the negotiation stage of the settlement. Be sure to summarize the accident and exactly why you are not at fault.
- Your medical expenses so far. Make sure not to fudge or underestimate this figure and have plenty of receipts and medical records to back up the amount. This dollar amount is important, since the insurance company uses this figure to come up with a settlement amount. That figure is multiplied by a factor that represents the seriousness of your injuries and other damages, such as your car repair and lost wages, which are then added to that amount. You should also include a statement of how much work you have lost due to the accident and have pay stubs available to prove it.
- The dollar amount you are asking for for the case to be settled now. You should make this amount slightly higher so that you will have some room for you, or your personal injury attorney, to negotiate down from.
You can, of course, use any demand letter template or example found on the internet if you wish. Caution is urged, however, since only a personal injury attorney will know exactly what to ask for in your particular case and situation and will have the expertise to negotiate a good settlement for your injuries.