One crucial step when going through a settlement that helps secure fair compensation is a well-crafted demand letter.
What’s the purpose of a demand letter?
A demand letter’s main purpose is to summarize your insurance claim, set out all the facts and circumstances of the incident, and state the compensation you seek.
According to injury law firm Shapiro, Appleton, Washburn, & Sharp, a well-crafted demand letter will set the stage for settlement negotiations, and will often lead to a successful resolution to the claim.
What are the Most Important Components of a Demand Letter?
Let’s look at the most important components of an effective demand letter:
- Clearly stating all facts of the incident accurately.
- Clearly stating the reason(s) the other party(s) is liable for injuries and losses.
- Listing any injuries/losses suffered as a result of the incident.
- Listing any medical expenses incurred as a result of the incident, including co-payments and medications.
- Calculating any wage/salary lost because of your inability to work.
- Stating any ongoing pain, emotional distress, or suffering sustained as a result of the incident.
- Copies of any and all documents you have that are related to the case, including any notes from doctors, employers…etc.
- The amount of damages you are demanding compensation for.
Demand Letter Format
The general format for a well-drafted demand letter must include the following information in order:
- The Heading
- Name, Address, and Contact Information
- Insurance company’s info for all parties involved
- Stating that this letter is for settlement purposes only
- The Body
- The Conclusion
- This is where you conclude your letter by thanking the claims adjuster and stating an expected timeline to hear a response.
The Body: Most Important Part of a Demand Letter
The body of your letter is the most important part of your argument, so it should be given extra attention.
You want to begin your argument with a detailed recount of the whole incident. It doesn’t have to be a novel, however, it should include enough details to support your claims.
Be sure to include any information that might be relevant to your case including pictures, emails, phone calls, and previous settlement offers.
Next, you want to include all the legal facts and contentions. Mainly, what legal cause of action you’re considering (Personal injury, negligence, breach of contract…etc).
Finally, you need to include the damages you seek for the harms you incurred. You want to ask for exactly what you want, don’t want to equivocate with this one. Come up with a number, ask for it, and provide an explanation on how you arrived at this figure.
Consider the legal and financial implications
Before you draft and send out your demand letter to the insurance company, you should enlist the help of an experienced attorney. A good personal injury lawyer would be able to guide you through the whole process while making sure you do not make any mistakes that might hinder your chances of securing the compensation you deserve.