Do I Send a Demand Letter After a Car Accident?
By Chris Dixon
One of the most important elements of a car accident claim is the demand letter. A demand letter should be used as a starting point for negotiations with the negligent driver’s insurance company. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you write an effective demand letter.
What Should Be Included in a Demand Letter for a Car Accident?
You should wait until your injuries are healed before you write a demand letter with your lawyer. After your injuries are healed, you should write a demand letter that includes any medical expenses you had because of the accident, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of affection and any other costs that you paid out-of-pocket because of the car accident. In addition to listing expenses from the accident that you’d like to recover, you should include any evidence from the accident such as pictures of the scene, a detailed statement of what you believe happened in the accident, witness statements, and supporting evidence from the police (police report) and medical personnel (medical report). Your personal injury lawyer can help you decide what should be included in this demand letter after a car accident to make sure that you receive the most in damages.
How Much Money Should I Ask for in a Demand Letter for Damages?
There isn’t a standard amount of money that should be asked for in a demand letter. Damages vary from accident to accident and associated costs vary. When you are trying to decide how much money to ask for in a demand letter, it’s important to think about all of the costs you have incurred because of the car accident. Factor in any medical expenses such as hospital bills, ambulance fees, and medicine and equipment purchased for treatment. Property damage done to your vehicle and any items in the vehicle should be calculated, as well as details of any pain and suffering damages, loss of affection, therapy bills, etc. The insurance company of the negligent party will calculate pain and suffering using a formula. Typically, multiplying economic damages (medical expenses, lost wages, etc) by a number between 1-5, depending on the severity of injuries.
Do I Have to Send a Demand Letter After a Car Accident?
If you do not send a demand letter after a car accident, the insurance company will not know what damages you are trying to recover from the accident and what grounds you have to receive compensation. Verbally speaking with the insurance company is not enough, you must create a demand letter with your car accident lawyer who can make sure that you receive the compensation that you may be entitled to. Not using a lawyer /or only verbally speaking to the insurance company additionally leaves room for the insurance company to twist any details you give them and offer you a lower settlement amount.
What if My Demand Letter Isn’t Successful?
A demand letter is submitted to the negligent driver’s insurance company. If they choose not to accept the settlement amount listed in your demand letter or do not believe the facts listed in it, your lawyer can negotiate with them until an acceptable settlement is offered. If they refuse to offer a higher settlement and you have solid evidence supporting your claim, with the help of your personal injury lawyer you can take your car accident case to court. A judge will analyze the case, declare someone at-fault for the accident and award damages to whoever has the stronger case. If you have been involved in a car accident and you are ready to write a demand letter with an attorney, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to set up a free initial consultation and start discussing your case.