Visitor Question

Best way to deliver a personal injury demand letter?

Submitted By: Monica (Columbia, South Carolina)

My husband and I were in a collision where the other driver was at fault. I was injured in the accident and had to have surgery because of it. I’m almost done with my therapy sessions and I am ready to send off my demand letter.

Is it alright for me to email it and send a hard copy also? The adjuster and I have been communicating via email ever since the day after the accident. Any other tips for finalizing and delivering the letter? I’m just wondering what the best way to do this is. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Monica,

It’s a good idea to mail to the adjuster a hard copy of your demand letter. Be sure to send it certified, return receipt requested. That way you can be sure the letter was received. Your settlement demand letter should be prepared in a professional manner. Doing so lends credibility to your claim, and may even help to assure you receive a higher settlement.

Here are some sample demand letters.

It is very important to understand how the claims adjuster’s mind works. You may feel you have an excellent working relationship with the adjuster. In fact, the adjuster may even appear empathetic to your injury and subsequent pain and suffering.

Don’t fall into that trap. The adjuster is not your friend. The adjuster wants to settle your claim for as little as possible. To do so, she may lull you into believing she is going out of her way to help you, and as a result is going to give you a higher settlement than she might for other victims. Don’t take the bait…

Your injury was quite serious, especially because it required surgery. Depending upon the extent of your injury, it would not be unreasonable for you to demand an amount 5 or 6 times the amount of your medical and chiropractic bills.

“Soft tissue” injuries such as bruising, minor cuts, ligament and muscle sprains, and the like normally settle anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times the amount of medical and chiropractic bills. More serious “hard injuries” like yours normally settle for a much higher multiple.

In most hard injury claims, representation by a skilled personal injury attorney results in a higher settlement for the victim, even after attorneys fees are deducted. It might not be a bad idea to at least consult with an attorney to get some advice and counsel. You might offer to pay a reasonable fee just for the attorney to review your claim and demand letter.

An attorney can review your medical records and bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and tell you whether or not she might be able to settle your claim for a high enough amount, so that even after attorney’s fees, you would still net a higher settlement then you might on your own.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 2, 2014

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