Filing a personal injury lawsuit does not always make its way to the courtroom. In fact, as many as 96 percent of personal injury lawsuits are pre-settled with insurance demand letters and counteroffers. That is why it is imperative to present a strong personal injury demand letter to the counterparty’s insurance company to seek adequate compensation for your injuries.
A settlement demand letter for insurance companies presents all the facts and your version of the incident for thorough review. At the time of the accident, if you followed proper accident procedures, you and the counterparty exchanged insurance information. It is important to get the claims adjuster’s name early on since this person will help you create a connection between the counterparty and the insurance company.
Before you request compensation, there are some guidelines to help secure the best outcome for your injury claim.
- Wait until after you’ve are close to the end of medical treatment to ensure all medical costs are accounted for and included in your insurance demand letter
- Be as unbiased and factual as possible in your letter
- Gather all necessary documentation to show proof of the insured’s fault in the accident
- Review your settlement demand letter with a licensed personal injury lawyer with many years practicing personal injury law in your state (or the state the accident occurred in)
An effective demand letter is made up of several parts that detail your case. They are as follows:
- Introductory information
- Your name, address and contact information
- Counter party’s insurance company, agent, address and contact information
- “For Settlement Purposes Only”
- Accident claim number and relevant pertinent information for the claim (including accident date and DOB of both the claimant (plaintiff) and the insured)
- Brief breakdown of circumstances prior to the accident
- Brief explanation of injuries and continued health care
- Mention that you are ready to settle or bring this claim to a close
- Brief introduction of how many exhibit documentations are included in this insurance demand letter (package)
- In-depth account of the pre-accident circumstances, the impact and its effects, and introductory of exhibit documentation for the police report and accident photos
- Insured’s Liability
- Introduce how the insured is liable for the accident
- Refer to the police report and any witness statements
- List injuries sustained (where and type of medical care)
- Time lapse between accident and emergency officials arriving on scene
- Location of medical care
- Type of treatment and medical received at location
- On-going treatment outside of hospital or emergency services
- Doctor’s orders (can introduce loss of wages and quality of life due to injuries)
- Break down specialty damages (all medical-related financial costs) and general damages (emotional distress, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering) and total them out
- Restate final total settlement demand amount
- Include a respond-by date from the date of postmark (needs to be at least 21 days to allow time for the insurance company to do their own investigation)
- Letter ending
- Identify attachments by exhibit reference number and what they should be
While you can write the personal injury demand letter yourself, it’s best to have it reviewed by a licensed injury lawyer in the state the accident occurred in. They can help you tighten up verbiage, facts presentation, and provide an appropriate respond-by date for the size of your claim. Personal injury lawyers may also add in specific law statutes that support the negligence of the counterparty (the insured) and their role in causing the accident.
It is imperative that you include “For Settlement Purposes Only” in the heading of your insurance demand letter in case your claim goes to trial. Injury Claim Coach has an excellent, detailed example of why this statement is important for your settlement demand letter.
Once you have mailed the insurance demand letter, the claims adjuster will need to review all the facts before accepting, rejecting, or submitting a counteroffer to you. Be aware that their job is to look for weaknesses that place fault on you and thereby clearing the insured (their client).
The adjuster and the insurance company are not legally required to respond to your settlement letter. However, insurance companies generally do not like to have settlement demands go to court or go public, so most times, solid demand letters can result in a counteroffer settlement. If there is a dispute of any evidence to back up a claim, such as a record of treatment or medical bills, then the claims adjuster may deny your claim. If there is no response, then you and the accident lawyer that you have retained can proceed with pursuing filing a personal injury lawsuit.
When you are ready to have your settlement demand letter reviewed, consider our local personal injury attorneys. Find Skousen Gulbrandsen, and Patience, PLC in Mesa, AZ. Our three-generational team has practiced auto accident law for more than 50 years combined. We are well-versed in Arizona’s law statues for accident cases that happened in the Metro Phoenix area as well as insurance company demand letters. Schedule a free consultation to have our team review your case and your letter.