Sending A Legal Demand After A Personal Injury
Personal injuries can cause a wide array of daily life disruptions. No one who has been involved in an accident and suffered a personal injury should be left to bear the financial consequences on their own. In instances where financial compensation suffices, insurance carriers must compensate the victims of the injury for their loss when an insured causes an injury.
In this case, a legal demand letter is one of the major steps towards obtaining compensation. Ideally, the first step is to contact a skilled attorney that is knowledgeable in personal injury cases. The personal injury lawyers at Fletcher Law Office have vast experience with crafting powerful and extensive legal demand letters.
What exactly is a legal demand?
The “legal demand” is generally used to describe the letter of demand a victim of a personal injury makes against the party deemed to be the cause of the injury. The legal demand is the centerpiece of the injury settlement negotiation process.
It is the process that signals the start of settlement negotiations in a personal injury case.
If the persons deemed responsible for the injury are insured, the legal demand will usually be addressed to an insurance company. In a legal demand, the victim of the injury or accident (claimant) will lay out all issues relating to the incident. The legal demand will particularly contain:
- Why the insurance company of the insured is at fault for the injuries sustained;
- Nature and extent of injuries suffered;
- Details of all medical treatment and expenses received by the claimant;
- Details of pain and suffering, income loss, and other losses incurred.
Before writing a demand letter….
There are a number of important steps that you have to take before writing a legal demand. Two of the important ones involve:
- Completing a total review if the medical records related to the claimant’s injuries
- Reviewing the facts of the incident to determine the exact way that the incident caused the claimant’s injuries.
Medical Treatment After Your Injury
After an accident, often injured victims will require medical care to ensure that they are not in any immediate danger and can begin to recover. Seeking medical attention may ensure that the claimant is safe. Medical professionals will many times have a vast knowledge of symptoms and injuries related to car accidents and will be able to properly advise the injured claimant of how to begin healing properly.
Consult a personal injury lawyer to move your case in the right direction
Injured claimants will often benefit from seeking consultation with a personal injury immediately after they have returned home from an initial visit for medical treatment. After the initial interview, your lawyer will conduct an interview with you. This will shed more light on the accident, your injuries, and your medical treatment.
Your lawyer will be the one to conduct preliminary investigation on your behalf and gather all evidence for your personal Injury claim. In many instances, your lawyer will wait to prepare your legal demand until you have reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). The MMI is that point where you've come to the end of your medical treatment.
By waiting till the end of the MMI, you may have adequate knowledge of the medical costs and how much to put down in your legal demand. It is after the preliminary investigation and completion of the MMI that you can now write a legal demand to the other party or their insurance company.
Sending a legal demand after a personal injury
A legal demand will often contain information and documents relevant to your claim. The components of a demand letter will usually contain:
- A simple narration of the facts of the case;
- A detailed explanation of the negligence of the other party and why they are liable for your injuries;
- Identification of the injuries you suffered and the cost of medical treatment received;
- Expenses personally incurred as a result of the injury suffered. This may include insurance deductibles, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications;
- Wages lost from time off work;
- Statement from a physician detailing current medical status or wellbeing;
- Documents to support your claim. This includes medical reports, employer statements, witness statements, police/incidence reports and other accompanying proof like pictures or videos; and
- The specific amount of compensation you feel you're entitled to.
Your legal demand letter should be organized, convincing, and contain all useful information regarding your claim. Any weak spot in it may be exploited by the other party or their insurance adjuster.
After sending the demand letter….
The other party or their insurance company will use the demand letter to examine your claim. Often there will be an acknowledgement sent by the insurance company to confirm that the demand letter has been received. The demand letter, as highlighted earlier, is merely one of the first processes in claiming financial compensation for your injury. Often after the demand letter is received, the insurance company will respond after completing their initial evaluation with an initial offer. From that point the process of negotiating a settlement will commence.
During this process the claimant’s attorney and the insurance company will begin to commence discussions as to the viability of the case and the damages that have been sustained.
Negotiating a settlement
The negotiation process is often regarded as one of the most intensive components of an insurance claim. Injured claimants should give serious consideration to hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent them in this process to seek to hold the insurance company accountable.
Often the insurance company will respond to the demand letter with an offer that is much lower than what was demanded by the claimant. From there the process will continue with offer and counter offer until an agreed upon figure is reached or not.
The negotiation part of a legal demand can be frustrating to an unrepresented claimant. In fact, it may be willfully designed to be so – to discourage you from finally getting the compensation you deserve.
What happens if you’re not able to reach a settlement?
On some occasions, there are instances where the injured victim and the other party or their insurance company fail to reach an agreement on the exact dollar value of the claim. When the insurance company sends a final offer, the injured claimant may be faced with the decision to file suit and proceed upon their claim in litigation.
A large number of victims of personal injury prefer to settle the case without resorting to filing suit and proceed with the litigation process in court. Insurance companies are aware of this tendency of claimants to avoid litigation. The decision to proceed with a lawsuit in your injury case into litigation should be made with careful consideration.
Injury lawsuit litigation can be intensive and take years to resolve. Claimants that decide to proceed with litigation must be aware of the amount of time that will be required to resolve their matter. Your attorney will be able to provide guidance on the best option available to you.
Get in touch with a personal injury lawyer
Whatever stage you are in your legal demand, you deserve quality legal representation. Without it, you’ll most likely end up on the wrong end of the bargain.
The law office of Fletcher Law and our team of experienced personal injury lawyers, have developed a great practice with crafting legal demand letters and seeking compensation for clients through insurance claims. Schedule an online consultation with us here or call (816) 631-2868 to speak with one of our attorneys.