Claiming damages from an insurance company can be challenging, but it is an important part of the personal injury recovery process. First, you’ll have to prove negligence, show evidence of the economic and non-economic damages suffered, value the claim, handle the insurance adjuster, negotiate the claim, and eventually agree to a settlement if one is offered. If you do not settle the case out of court, you may have to pursue financial recovery at trial.
Dealing with an insurance company also involves knowing how to write a settlement demand letter, which an attorney can help you with. The main purpose of this letter is to list your damages and ask the insurance company for a settlement. It also shows that you’re ready to settle the claim. When writing the letter, you must include all the case’s facts, the total amount of damages you are seeking, and the monetary amount you expect to receive.
Parts of a Settlement Demand Letter
Lawyers know how to write a settlement demand letter that is specific to a particular case. The letter includes each case’s unique facts. However, letters of this kind contain the following common elements:
- The heading
- Introduction and summary of the accident
- A description of the injuries and damages suffered
- Proof of liability
- Evidence supporting your case (e.g., police crash report, witness statements, loss of income statement from an employer)
- A settlement compensation request
Your lawyer will calculate the value of your damages, including a value of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and note the value in the demand letter. All these elements will be conveyed with a polite and professional tone.
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Benefits of a Settlement Demand Letter
A settlement demand letter is the beginning of negotiations with an insurance company. In some cases, a court may require accident victims to make a formal demand before filing a lawsuit. A demand letter will catalyze a case settlement, help organize the case, and let the insurance company know the settlement you expect.
Since the letter will explain your side of the story and the claim’s value, it will open a discussion between the liable insurer and the accident victim.
Possible Outcomes After Writing a Demand Letter
Once you have written and sent the demand letter, you can expect any of the following. The insurance company can:
- Accept the terms and details and settle the case for the requested amount
- Make a counteroffer
- Start a negotiations process
- Deny the insurance claim
Note that the counteroffer is usually less than the requested settlement amount. If this happens to you, your lawyer will try to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If you do not settle or the insurance company refuses to pay you any money, your legal team can file a lawsuit and seek to recover the damages in court.
What Happens After You Accept a Settlement?
After filing the lawsuit, the court in your state will resolve the case, and you could receive a court-ordered award. If you agree to settle your case outside of court, your case ends there. You cannot sue the insurance company or claim any more damages once you accept a settlement.
As the American Bar Association (ABA) explains, the settlement process can occur at any point after legal action is filed or before a trial takes place. It can even occur at any point after a case has been tried. However, a settlement must occur before a jury returns a verdict.
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When to Send a Settlement Demand Letter
When claiming compensation, you’ll need to promptly send the insurance company a settlement demand letter to start negotiating your claim. After reviewing your case and determining if it’s valid, your lawyer will send the settlement letter immediately. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible after your accident could help you with this process.
Obtaining legal advice before talking to an insurance company or any other party can help you avoid making statements in the letter that could hurt your claim. Your lawyer will guide you on what to write and protect your legal right for compensation.
If you’re a victim of a car accident, slip and fall, or any other accident due to negligence, you can claim compensation from the at-fault party. A legal team by your side will help you with the process, which involves filing a claim, valuing it, negotiating with the insurance company, and litigating if necessary.
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Although dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, it’s the first step toward ensuring a fair settlement. Having an attorney who knows how to write a settlement demand letter ensures that the opposed party and their insurer will understand what damages you want to receive.
While it can be challenging to write such a letter, the good news is that you don’t have to do this alone. With years of experience in handling personal injury cases, the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will help you write your settlement demand letter and handle your claim so that you can focus on your recovery. Call our offices at 1-800-747-3733 now for a free consultation and more information.
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