Detailing an accident claim is an important part of receiving compensation for damages. An accident can cause property damage, injuries, wage loss and associated mental and physical ramifications with a concomitant financial impact. The way in which this is formally presented to an insurance company or other responsible party is through a demand letter. This letter not only describes the case in detail, it also sets the tone for subsequent proceedings.
What Defines a Demand Letter
A demand letter is sent to the insurance company by an individual injured in the accident. It is sent to the insurer of the person that caused the accident. It is a recognized way of telling the other party or the insurance company how the accident happened and how the injuries were incurred. This letter also details the treatment that was received, the time that was lost at work and the financial impact the injuries had on the injured party.
Drafting a Demand Letter
While it is possible to draft your own demand letter, the task is often handled by personal injury attorneys. The demand letter introduces your claim to the insurer and a properly structured demand letter helps not just at the start of the process but also sets your bargaining position as it progresses. In addition, the demand letter should reflect a professional tone, lacking emotion and an argumentative stance. There are specific attributes that a demand letter must incorporate.
How Demand Letters Are Organized
The demand letter must be organized. Not only should it provide details concerning the injured party’s damages but it should also contain pertinent records. Your attorney will put the medical records, police reports, property damage details and employment records that substantiate the incident in chronological order. It is important to make it easy to reference the records by using tabs. In addition, it is best to submit the records at one time, and try to avoid adding the reports gradually. If it is apparent that some updates will be needed, such as when medical treatment is ongoing, personal injury attorneys can note that in the original demand letter.
Sending the Demand Letter
It is important to send the demand letter in a timely fashion. However, some legal professionals caution that it is necessary to have a clear idea of the individual’s injuries. Sending the letter before healthcare professionals have adequately evaluated the situation may make the financial demands less than what is needed. For instance, immediately after an injury some physical complications are unknown, so sending a demand letter too soon might be prohibitive. Your attorney will gather all the necessary information and send the letter at the appropriate time.
Calculating the Loss
The demand letter sets the amount you will need to recover your financial loss. This amount covers medical expenses, automobile repairs, lost wages and other non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
Response to a Demand Letter
The insurance company responds to the demand letter in one of several ways. It can accept the terms of the demand letter and ask that a release form be signed before the funds are paid. The insurance company can also deny its obligation to pay. This happens rarely and usually if the demands are unsubstantiated. Generally, a series of negotiations follows the initial demand letter until there is an agreement. If no agreement is reached, the case can be taken to court.
Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you have been injured in an accident in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale, it is important to provide a demand letter that is both comprehensive and drafted appropriately. Contacting the attorneys at Kaiser Romanello for a free case evaluation will allow you to rest assured that the demands made to the insurance company are professionally handled. If negotiations are begun, the firm’s accident injury attorneys will follow through and formulate a plan to deal with the insurance company’s response.