Have you sustained injuries due to someone’s negligence? Are you planning to sue? Before planning to pursue your claim suit, draft an impressive demand letter to be sent to the insurance provider of the at-fault party.
Have you heard about demand letters? They are actually prepared pre-litigation by attorneys to write about your injuries and your demand of pay as compensation to the insurance adjuster. This blog analyzes the factors that help you understand the necessity of them and methods to frame an effective demand letter for payment.
Definition of a Demand Letter
As the name suggests, it’s a letter that demands the deserved restitution for the injuries of the plaintiff inflicted by the negligence or breach of duty by the defendant. It encompasses all the essential facts pertaining to the injuries of the aggrieved like cause, type of impact/medical negligence, types of injuries, treatments, and financial losses. The important part is the demand of payment or restitution expected by the affected to the defendant’s insurance provider.
Purpose of Drafting Demand Letters
Demand letters are drafted to let the insurers know that you are planning to pursue a claim for your injuries. It’s also a way to remind them courteously of your willingness to resolve the dispute out of the court if they agreed to the demand.
If the insurance adjuster is ready to settle the dispute out of the court, it will save the time, money and effort of both the plaintiff and the insurer.
Tactics to Compose Compelling Demand Letters
Composing effective demand letters needs expertise. Many demand letter services prepare productive demand letters to proceed with claims. Most people get the help of an efficient demand letter attorney to construct impressive letters. Getting the help of an attorney is not compulsory if you know the tactics to formulate one. Below are some of the important techniques to write your demand letter.
1. Organize the documents:
Try to collate all the possible documents related to the incident and injury before writing the demand letters. Since all the essential details are to be presented to the adjuster, organized data makes the herculean task easy.
Having a medical narrative summary will help you to inscribe the demand easier without leaving out the vitals.
2. Maintain a cordial tone:
Due to the incident, you may be agitated against the opponent. However, a demand letter in an unfriendly tone would close all the routes to an easy settlement. The insurer will be provoked, and the things will be made complicated in an otherwise easy claim.
Formulate your demand letter in a persuasive tone and make the adjuster see the problems from your point of view. Convince him with valid proof for the injuries.
3. Be fact-oriented:
Your demand letter should be precise with all the essential details. You need not describe everything in detail. You need to be focused on your demand. Writing a long letter with all the unwanted things would seem to be a waste of time to the provider. He will not spend more time skimming your tale to grasp your demand.
Make your demand letter crispy and to the point. Presenting the vital facts will help the adjuster presume what you aim for and analyze them easily. Try to include all the facts together. Writing multiple demand letters with fragments of details will make your claim seem unimportant.
In case of ongoing treatment, inform the insurer about it beforehand and update without fail.
4. Present the details in an organized way:
Present the following details in the demand letters in an organized way under proper side headings for easy perusal by the insurance provider.
- Basic information of the plaintiff: Name, age, and gender of the plaintiff should be presented.
- Date of loss: The date of the incident or injury is mentioned under this. In the case of deceased victims, the date of death will be noted.
- Name of the at-fault party: The name of the defendant must be given to make them identify the insurance holder.
- List of documents of proof: You need to give a list of the documents you have to prove your claims.
- Details of the impact or incident: The details of the impact should be given precisely like in the collision report. When, where, and how the incident occurred, the proof of skid marks to prove the over the speed of the at-fault driver, and the admission of fault by the defendant, etc. are crucial in your demand letter.
- Injuries: The details of the injuries from prominent to minor must be clearly mentioned. Even discomfort, pain, and difficulty breathing should be added. Symptoms can be detailed according to their first appearance.
- Treatment: Treatment starting from the EMT until the present should be provided chronologically.
- Providers and recommendations: The details of the EMT, ER, chiropractor/ primary healthcare provider, specialists like pain management, orthopedics, neurologists, etc., must be presented chronologically. Their specific findings and recommendations gain importance in the demand letters.
- Test findings: The important finding in X-ray, MRI, CT scan and other test findings can be presented.
- Medications and medical devices: The medications taken by the patient, and the medical device bought to support the injuries also are important.
- Future treatment: The future treatment or surgeries needed and the necessity of ongoing treatment are necessary.
- Intangible losses: The intangible losses like pain and suffering, loss of wages, loss of income, and emotional distress must be detailed.
- ICD and CPT codes: Note down the ICD and CPT codes mentioned in your bills for the adjuster to understand the nature of treatment and costs easily.
5. Supply proof for your demand:
Insurers will not believe what you have told about your injuries. Provide exhibits with all the documents you have mentioned as evidence of your claims. Remember to provide the medical bills and out of the pocket expense proof in demand letters.
6. Consider the policy limits:
Consider the policy limit of the at-fault party before drafting your demand letter. The insurers cannot settle the amount greater than the insured amount. Asking for huge restitution beyond the insurance limit also can affect your claim negatively.
7. Comprise all your losses:
All your financial damages like past and present medical expenses, transportation to the facility expenses, property damages, and car damages –if totaled or repaired, should be included. Include the out of the pocket expenses also.
8. Specify your demand:
Never try to exaggerate your demand. Ask for what you deserve politely. Explain how you have arrived at that amount. Explain the specifics of your calculation to justify your claim.
9. Never let out the specifics:
Never let the adjuster know about the strong points you have on your part to win. Giving unnecessary access to all your information will turn out to be detrimental in your case. Never try to admit your part of the fault in any way, which could be turned against you.
10. Set a deadline:
Giving a deadline to respond to your demand letters will prompt them to act upon it appropriately on time. Since the deadline tells them that you will pursue the claim legally once the time ends, they have no other way but to respond to you quickly.
11. Never call to talk about your demands:
Never try to call the insurer and talk about your demands. Remember that they will record your conversation for documentation. Any casually said comment could be turned against you in the litigation to deny your claim.
12. Never talk law, if you draft a demand letter yourself:
If you are not an attorney, never use the style and language of an attorney. Never discuss the law. Present your demand letter from your point of view.
13. Be ready to negotiate:
Don’t be obstinate to stick to your claim. Be ready to negotiate with the insurers, if they are ready to come to an agreeable settlement. If the negotiated amount is too low, you can come up with another letter with an amount you can agree with and send to them.
14. Use certified mail:
Always send your demand letter via certified mail with return receipt. Once the claims adjuster receives the mail, you will get the return receipt. Keep it safe as a document in case the adjuster claims not receiving the mail.
Sending your demand letter via email is also preferable as that also will be proof of you sending the letter on time.
15. Allow response time:
Don’t be in a haste to get the reply. As insurers, they will have multiple cases like yours to handle. Allow the time given as a deadline for the adjuster to peruse and respond to your mail.
Settlement Demand Letter Sample
Possible Outcomes of Your Demand Letter
Getting the exact demand letter payment is very rare. Mostly, all the insurers won’t accept your demand and settle what you have asked for. Once they receive the demand letter, they will either reduce the compensation amount, which may be far less than your demand or deny your claim bluntly.
They may reduce the compensation and respond to your letter. If you are satisfied with the amount, the case will be settled or else you can pursue your claim suit to the court.
In medical malpractice cases, hospitals will be interested to settle the claims pre-suit, once they receive the demand letters. Because if they lose at trials that would damage their name and fame. Therefore, even if they diminish the restitution, they would be eager to get out of the dispute as early as possible.
How Does a Demand Letter Strengthen Your Suit?
The receiver of the demand letter cannot neglect that. It is considered to be a sign of good faith on the part of the insurers. The adjusters must respond to the demand letters in a polite way. If they fail to respond on time or complete negligence in responding can be crucial in the litigation against them.
Even though the demand letters were not legally needed, they can be included with the other documents and presented to the judge. The demand letter is considered as a sign of good faith from the part of the plaintiff who is willing to resolve the case without trial.
A polite, precise and well-organized demand letter can convince the jury about the prime allegations and the aim of the plaintiff easily. It may turn out to be a vital document to get a favorable verdict.
Writing effective demand letters expressing the demands clearly will be a good start to proceed with your claim. Valid demand letters for payment precisely point out the injuries incurred by the plaintiffs and the damages they had. Well-drafted letters will make the insurance adjusters understand the seriousness of the disputes and prompt them to take appropriate action on time.
Learning to draft them precisely and well-organized needs more care. Any ordinary man can draft a demand letter, if he knows the tactics. If you feel the need of expert assistance, seek the help of a demand letter attorney. Because they have more experience in composing demand letters professionally. Begin with a strong step to win your restitution like a pro.