What is a Demand Letter?
A demand letter is an important part of the personal injury settlement process. The purpose of a demand letter, often sent to the insurance company or other parties involved, is to “demand” appropriate compensation for any injuries.
Some of the common types of personal injury cases these letters are used for include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall incidents
- Other premises injuries
- Dog bites
What Should be Included in a Demand Letter?
A demand letter should be clear and concise and should look professional. The following information should be contained in a demand letter:
- Facts related to the incident
- Description of how the incident happened
- Information about the extent of the injuries sustained
- Information regarding the medical treatment received, including ongoing treatment that will be required
- Medical bills and statements
- A “demand” for a settlement amount
- A date that a response is expected by
- Conclusion stating that a lawsuit will be forthcoming if the demand for compensation is not met
Do You Need an Attorney to Draft a Demand Letter?
A personal injury attorney will know how to draft a demand letter, but you may wish to draft one on your own. If the compensation you are seeking is significant, you may want to consider retaining legal counsel to help with this process or for negotiations that result from any response to the demand letter. If the response you receive is not satisfactory, you may need to consider seeking legal assistance to take your case to the next level.
Is a Demand Letter a Legal Document?
A demand letter is a document that gives a party formal notice that a person is considering legal action against them if their demand is not met. While the demand letter is not in itself a legal document that must be responded to, ignoring it could lead to legal action sooner than would have otherwise happened if the demand letter was responded to in the first place.
How Long After a Demand Letter Does a Settlement Take?
There is no particular timeline for how long it will take a settlement to come through. A settlement may happen faster if there is no dispute about the facts of the incident or the amount. However, if there is a dispute to the fact or the other party wishes to negotiate the settlement amount, the settlement may take longer.
Can You Ignore a Demand Letter?
Most demand letters come with an expected time frame for a response. A person is not legally required to respond to a demand letter, but this is risky. Not responding could lead to a personal injury lawsuit from the affected party. Once the personal injury lawsuit process has begun in the courts, there are not many ways to stop it. Responding to a demand letter could very well keep a matter out of the courts.
Compensation Available in Personal Injury Cases
There are various types of damages a person can seek in a personal injury case. These can include easily calculable things like medical expenses and lost income due to the injury. Damages can also include things that are harder to calculate like pain and suffering damages and the cost of future medical costs due to the injury.