If you were involved and injured in a car accident, you will soon learn that there are many legal terms that you don’t fully understand. Often people ask what a demand letter is. To put it simply, it’s a letter that is provided to a defendant on their insurance company stating the general facts of your legal claim. The letter provides them with money demand that you will accept to close the case.
The demand letter is composed by your attorney and sent to the defendant. It contains a basic background of the case and explains that you’re considering legal action and a request for your claim.
The settlement is the number of money victims of accidents seek in case of personal injury. It can also be other items the plaintiff can seek such as coverage for medical expenses or damage reparation.
A New Mexico car accident attorney would help you with this demand letter.
What Are The Elements of a Demand Letter?
The components of a demand letter depend mainly on the case and the lawyer’s writing style. A good demand letter contains the following info:
- Basic background on the victim (and their family if the injuries have affected them);
- Why the victim believes the defendant is liable and why they’re entitled to the claim;
- Legal arguments that apply for the case;
- How the injuries and damages have affected the victim’s life;
- Outline of the damages and losses the victim have suffered (dollar amounts)
- Specific demand that will settle the case.
This may seem like a lot of information, but all of it is necessary, which makes the letter lengthy. Some demand letters don’t include all of this information only because it isn’t yet available. In some cases, the future damages aren’t known from the start, because the victim is still recovering. The victim can specifically explain that in their letter, but they may need to put a dollar amount on it to reveal a final number. Initial demands are usually higher for the sole purpose of negotiation. Usually, insurance companies would offer a lower settlement, so if the victim seeks a higher amount and the insurers reduce it, the victim can get a decent offer.
The letter is of great help for the defendant because it notifies them that the plaintiff has a valid and legal claim to pursue.
The letter is a way to force the defendant to take the plaintiff and their injuries seriously.
How Are Demand Letters Used?
The demand letter is the initial step in the claim and is often sent prior to the legal process. The legal process begins when the case gets to court.
Sometimes attorneys can negotiate a settlement by using an initial demand letter; the negotiation will follow and the case will be set without a lawsuit. Many personal injury victims would rather have this type of approach instead of going to a long and stressful trial.
This doesn’t mean that the demand letter is required. In some cases, the attorney may suggest that you don’t send a demand letter before filing a case. There are many reasons for this such as time constraints or strategy-based judgment calls.
Demand letters can be used to communicate with your own insurance company as well. In case you should get coverage for an uninsured motorist, and your insurance company has denied the claim, your lawyer may send a demand letter with a demanding coverage.
Getting Help with Your Demand Letter
This is a useful tool but can be used against you if you make admissions you didn’t mean or offer to accept a lower settlement than you should. It’s best to ask your lawyer for help with this document, so you can be sure that you have included everything you need (and to exclude the things that aren’t necessary).
Don’t compromise with the claim since it may not be enough to cover all your medical expenses and lost wages. The insurance company won’t be eager to offer a high settlement, no matter how severe your injuries were. Also, it’s a good way to negotiate for a higher settlement, instead of just accepting the first offer.
If you don’t know how to start or how to seek your damages, be sure to contact a car accident attorney.
FBD Law has experience with such cases and we can help you write the letter (and everything in between).
Contact FBD Law today. We offer a free consultation where we’ll review your case.