If you have a personal injury claim and you would like to discuss your case with one of our attorneys for free, contact us in one of the following ways: (1) using the free consultation contact form to the right, (2) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (3) by phone at 888-820-5885.
Today’s blog post is about demand letters. For those of you out there who have chosen not to hire a Durham Personal Injury Attorney or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorney, you may be at the point where you need to send a demand letter to the insurance company (you are generally at the point to do this once you have finished all of your medical treatment, obtained all of your medical bills and records) and may have found us looking for some tips on how to put together a demand letter to send to the insurance company. If you would like a sample demand letter, contact one of our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys. In the meantime, below are 6 sections that you should include in your demand letter.
- Introduce yourself and the purpose of your demand letter
In this section you want to identify yourself and the purpose of your demand letter. In addition, you should add very preliminary background information on your accident, such as the accident date, claim number, etc. Lastly, summarize your theory of liability and the amount you are demanding (foreshadow where the letter is going).
- Outline the Background of the Parties
Here you will include information about yourself that may shed a positive light on you and indicate that you will be a credible witness (education level, professional achievements, civic achievements, etc.). Also, you may want to outline certain aspects of the background of the person who caused your injury that may shed a negative light on their credibility (criminal record, etc.). Don’t go crazy on attacking the other driver, but if you find information that is relevant and damaging, include it as it may help your case (the insurance company is not going to want to push you to a trial if their policyholder will make a terrible witness).
- Outline your Theory of Liability
This is a very important section of your letter. Here you want to outline your theory of liability. You will want to specifically reference evidence that supports your theory of liability (such as a police report, witness statements, pictures of the scene, etc.).If you are in need of some assistance on your theory of liability, or if the insurance company is denying liability, consider contacting our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers for help.
- Outline your Damages
This is also a very important section of your demand letter. When you organize this section be sure to itemize and catalogue all of your damages. List every expense you have and include evidence supporting the expense (bills, receipts, etc.). Generally you want to separately itemize your special damages (which are your out-of-pocket expenses like medical bills) from your general damages (which are your pain and suffering type damages). It is crucial to provide as much documentation as possible (photos, medical records, receipts, etc.) as the burden is on you to prove your damages, and if you fail to adequately document your damages the insurance company will not pay you for your claim (the insurance adjuster’s job is to only pay reasonable damages, and the adjuster needs to document his or her file before making any payment).If you are not sure where to get started on your Damages section, one of our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys can give you some tips. Just give us a call or email.
- Make your Demand
Add up all of your damages, and make a demand on the insurance company. Generally you want to ask for a certain sum of money, and put in a deadline with a consequence if your demand is not met (the consequence can be filing a lawsuit, hiring a personal injury attorney, etc.). Do your best to keep your demand reasonable (if you are not sure about the value of your case, ask an attorney for a free assessment (if you are in North Carolina our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers are available to give you a free assessment)). The demand, to be successful, needs to be an amount that makes sense to you and the insurance company. If you ask for the absolute highest sum possible, you do not leave any reason for the insurance company to accept your demand (they’d rather just hold up your case for a year or two and take the case to trial to see what a jury will do with your case). For help with wording your demand, give our Durham Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Injury Lawyers a call or email, and we’ll be happy to give you some pointers.
- Send a copy of your demand letter to the person who caused your accident
Send a courtesy copy of your demand letter to the person who caused your accident. This can sometimes help your case because occasionally the person who caused your accident will contact his or her insurance company and ask the insurance company to settle the claim (typically because the person does not want to have to go to court, but also sometimes because the person is worried about a high jury verdict that could expose the person to liability in excess of his or her insurance policy).
If you have any questions regarding your demand letter, our Durham Injury Attorneys and Greensboro Injury Lawyers are available to assist you. In addition, you can find a lot of resources by conducting an internet search for sample personal injury demand letters.