When you’ve been involved in an accident and have suffered damages in the form of injuries and property damage, you are entitled to compensation from the person or entity that caused the accident. One way to obtain this compensation is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. When you take this step, you’ll eventually need to write out a demand letter that will state the amount of compensation you are requesting and will give information and evidence to support that request.
Because of the importance of this demand letter, being able to write an effective letter is vital to the success of your claim. By writing a concise and thorough letter, you leave the insurance adjuster very little space to object to your requests. A well-written letter will also tell the insurance company that you are not interested in a quick settlement, rather, you are intent on obtaining the compensation you deserve for the damages that you have suffered.
When to Send the Demand Letter
When you are coming close to the end of the medical treatments your doctors have prescribed for you, and your condition is sufficiently stable, you will send your demand letter to the insurance company. Don’t make the mistake of sending the letter too soon – you never know when additional injuries will make themselves known and need treatment. If you send the letter too soon, you will not be able to recover these additional costs. So waiting until you’re near the completion of your treatment is the smartest decision when figuring out when you should send your letter.
Components of an Effective Demand Letter
You want your demand letter to be taken seriously by the insurance adjuster. That’s why the form of the letter is important. It shows the insurance adjuster that you know what you’re doing, and you know exactly what the letter represents. This is why it can pay to hire an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney such as the attorneys at The Sevey Law Firm. We have written hundreds of demand letters, and we know what it takes to craft an effective demand letter that gets the job done.
These are the components that serve to create an effective demand letter:
- A succinct and non-emotional explanation of the facts regarding the accident that caused your injuries;
- A truthful, non-emotional explanation of why you believe the negligent party is liable for your injuries and property damage (if applicable);
- A list of injuries you’ve suffered along with the medical costs associated with the treatments for those injuries;
- Out-of-pocket expenses that you’ve incurred such as insurance copays, insurance deductibles, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications;
- Wages lost from having to take time off work while you heal from your injuries;
- A physician’s statement regarding your ongoing pain level and any mental or emotional distress you’ve suffered or are suffering that was ultimately caused by the accident;
- Supporting documentation including physician’s reports, employer statements, witness statements, and police reports; and
- The dollar amount you are requesting in compensation for your damages.
Creating Your Demand Letter
Any written correspondence you have with the insurance company should be professional and non-emotional. Stick with the facts of the situation surrounding the accident and the injuries you’ve suffered. Have your letter proofread so that there are no misspellings, punctuation errors, or grammatical errors. This will ensure that your letter is easy to read.
If your letter is long, that’s okay. To make it easier to understand, place the letter in a binder with different sections for supporting documentation, labeled and referred to in your letter as “Exhibit A,” “Exhibit B,” etc.
Formatting Your Demand Letter
There is a specific order of the elements your letter should include to make it easy to read and understand. The following order should be utilized for maximum effectiveness.
- A heading that includes your name, address, phone number, and email at the topmost part of the letter;
- The name of the insurance company you are addressing, as well as the claims adjuster’s name and title, and the company’s physical street address;
- The date the letter will be mailed;
- “FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY” preceding the main body of the letter;
- A line stating, “RE:” followed by your claim number.
- An introduction stating that you are ready to negotiate a claim settlement;
- A background section explaining the facts of the accident such as how and where it occurred, the weather and road conditions (if an auto accident), or other conditions pertinent to the accident;
- The liability section demonstrating that their insured party was negligent, and that negligence resulted in the accident that caused your injuries and any property damage;
- A reference section outlining the supporting documentation attached;
- A very detailed description of the injuries you’ve suffered, and the medical treatments that were required to treat those injuries;
- A detailed description of the amount and severity of the physical pain you have suffered, along with the stress and mental anguish you have or are suffering;
- A description of any lasting mental or emotional issues that have resulted due to the accident and injuries, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Required medical expenses (past and future), hospital expenses, emergency transportation costs, or surgery costs that were needed to treat your injuries;
- Lost wages due to the time taken off work to heal;
- Out-of-pocket expenses;
- Past and future pain and suffering;
- Any damage to personal property due to the accident.
Close your letter with a conclusion paragraph thanking the claims adjuster and letting them know the timeframe you expect to hear a response.
Call Us For Help
If you’re overwhelmed with the task of crafting an effective demand letter, it’s understandable. After all, this letter is the first step in obtaining the compensation you truly deserve for the damages that you’ve suffered through no fault of your own.
The attorneys at The Sevey Law Firm want you to feel comfortable contacting us for a consultation regarding your demand letter. We have extensive experience in personal injury law, and in fact, it is the only type of law that we practice. That level of focus ensures that you are getting a well-trained, skilled, and experienced attorney to represent you.
Call us at (916) 788-7100, or email us through our online contact page to set up an appointment for a free consultation.