Most personal injury cases are resolved through a settlement between the injured victim and the liable insurance company. These settlements are reached through negotiation between the injured victim’s attorney and representatives of the liable insurance company.
Negotiations typically start after the injured victim’s attorney sends a demand letter to the insurance company. Below, we discuss settlement demand letters in detail and explain why it is so important to work with an attorney when seeking compensation for personal injury damages.
If have questions about pursuing a case or have already filed a claim and need assistance, give Schmidt Kramer a call today. We are ready to help you seek full compensation for damages to help you move forward with your life.
Elements of a Settlement Demand Letter
The purpose of a settlement demand letter is to make a demand for payment for damages suffered in an accident. The letter includes evidence to support the claim for compensation, including documentation about:
- The value of the victim’s damages, such as receipts and bills for medical treatment and property damage
- Liability for the accident, such as pictures of the scene and statements from witnesses
- Your injuries, such as pictures, medical records and statements from treating doctors – you will likely need significant evidence if you are seeking compensation for a permanent injury
- Pain and suffering and other non-economic losses
- Anything else that may be relevant to the claim for damages, such as the police report or statements from your employer about lost wages and missed time at work
Demand letters also explain the accident, including when, where and how it happened. Demand letters should also highlight unique facts about the victim’s case. For example, if your injuries prevent you from playing in a recreational sports league or running marathons, your demand letter should explain this.
Often, the more a demand letter is asking for in compensation, the longer it is. For example, if the demand letter is asking for a seven-figure settlement, you will need significant evidence to back up the claim. The insurance company will be more than willing to carefully review every aspect of the case because they will be reluctant to agree to a settlement.
There are many aspects to an effective demand letter. That is why you should leave the drafting of a demand letter to an experienced Harrisburg personal injury attorney with a track record of success.
You do not want the insurance company to think the demand letter was written by an inexperienced attorney who does not know what he or she is doing. That could make it much more likely the insurance company will drag out the legal process.
Why a Settlement Demand May Start Too High
Sending a demand letter kicks of settlement negotiations. After the insurance company receives the letter, it reviews the demand and often comes back with a counteroffer. Both sides may go back and forth several times before an agreement is reached.
Given that this is usually what happens, attorneys often start off demanding more compensation than they may be willing to accept. If an attorney starts off too low, it may be very difficult to recover full compensation for the victim’s damages. This is because the insurance company’s first counteroffer is often far below the attorney’s initial settlement demand. You need to leave room for the insurance company’s offers to come up.
However, you do not want the initial offer to be too high. The insurance adjuster will likely be suspicious about a demand that is too high.
There is some strategy to crafting a demand letter and negotiating and these are things that should be left to an attorney. You do not want to be figuring these things out while trying to recover from a significant injury.
Injured By Another’s Negligence? Call Schmidt Kramer for Assistance
There are many advantages to hiring an attorney after suffering a personal injury because of another’s negligence. You can schedule a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney from our firm to learn more about our services.
We have recovered millions on behalf of our clients, including countless recoveries for crash victims. We take cases on contingency, which means there are no upfront fees.
Schmidt Kramer. Local. Licensed. Lawyers. Call (717) 727-2550.