Your demand letter is central to your insurance claim, and the negotiation process. In your letter, you should set out your most important arguments regarding:
- What your injuries were, and if you are still suffering from them
- Why someone else is legally responsible for your injuries
- What medical treatment you had and are still having
- How much your medical treatment has cost
- How much your medical treatment is still costing
- How much income you have lost
- Any other damages that you suffered
- and (If applicable) why you qualify to make a claim against another person under no-fault automobile insurance.
You should close your letter with a demand to the insurance company in question, asking for a lump sum that will result in the settlement of your claim.
What you need to Highlight in your Letter
Before you start writing your demand letter, you may want to review any notes that you have made in the days and weeks after your accident. This will help you to remember any significant details such as how much pain and discomfort you’re in, what medical treatment you have had, and how your life has been disrupted or inconvenienced by your accident.
As you start to write your letter begin to describe how the accident occurred, and why another person was at fault. Describe where you were when you had the accident, what you were doing just before the accident, and how it occurred.
It’s also important that you mention any support that you have about your theory as to who is to blame. Support from eyewitnesses and their statements, a police report, and a building code section are worth mentioning here.
In some circumstances, there will be a question as to whether you were careless, and if your carelessness contributed to the accident. This may be the case even if another individual is entirely to blame. It would be wise to highlight this potential issue in your letter, by denying that you were at any fault.
If you believe that you may have been partly at fault, it is essential that you do not admit fault in the letter. You should, however, consider your carelessness when deciding what a fair settlement would be. Please note that it is not up to you to argue about comparative negligence with the insurance company. If an insurance adjuster starts to argue about comparative negligence, you should feel free to discuss this issue with them then.
In your letter you will need to go into detail about your injuries, explaining:
- How much pain you are in
- How long you have been recovering from your accident
- How difficult the recovery is or was
- The negative effects that the injuries have had on your day-to-day life
- Any permanent or long-term injuries you are suffering from, particularly those which are disfiguring or disabling, and those which have left you with permanent scarring, pain/soreness, or stiffness.
If you can, use as many medical terms as possible, for instance, you could say you have an “Oblique fracture”, rather than saying you simply have a fracture.
Please note that it is vital that you do not lie or exaggerate about your injuries if the insurance company assumes that your claim is a false one they may turn a blind eye to it.
In your letter, please include a complete list regarding who provided your medical care, and how much you were charged by each medical provider.
Loss of Income
Make a short statement about how much time you have taken off from work due to your injuries. You should refer to any statements or letters that your employer has sent you, detailing how much time you have missed, and how much pay you have missed out on. If you are self-employed or irregularly employed, please give a full and complete explanation as to how you arrived at the total figure you have given for loss of income.
If you have suffered from inconveniences, embarrassments, or unusual discomforts as a result of your accident, you should detail them in your letter.
Your Demand Figure
In the very last paragraph of your letter, you should demand a specific sum of money. This sum will be the total amount of compensation that you are demanding for your loss of income, pain, medical expenses, suffering, and any other losses.
It would be wise for you to give the insurance company a figure that is higher than the amount you think your claim is worth. In general, you should ideally demand a figure that is 75-100% higher than the amount of money that you would be pleased with. This will give you room to negotiate with an insurance adjuster.
Attach Your Supporting Documents
Send the insurance company copies of any bills, documents, letters or records that support the information that you have put in your letter. You should hang on to the original copies of these documents as you may need to make a copy of them at a later date.
Your demand letter is hugely important when it comes to getting a fair settlement. You may, therefore, want to make a note of all the relevant information that you’ll need so that you have everything to hand. Write a few draft letters, and try to get as much information across as possible so the insurance company knows exactly what happened, and how much you are claiming for. A well-written demand letter needs to be convincing, contain supporting information, and a demand figure that you would be more than happy with.
If you are currently suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘How to Write a Winning Demand Letter‘ please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking.