Auto Accident Settlement Demand Letter

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An auto accident letter of demand is a letter to the insurance claims adjuster which sets forth the basis for your monetary claims against the insured. The letter of demand must be compelling and contain all elements of your claim including:

  • Your injuries;
  • Why the insured is legally responsible for your injuries;
  • The type of medical treatment you received, including the name of each treating physician;
  • The cost of the medical treatment you received;
  • Whether future or ongoing medical treatment is required and the estimated cost of that treatment;
  • The property damage you sustained and the cost of repairing that damage;
  • Lost wages;
  • Other damages you suffered, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

The settlement demand letter should also specifically deny that you were in any way at fault for the accident. It is standard for insurance claims adjusters to argue that the plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence in an effort to reduce their insured's liability for the motor accident.

The last paragraph of the letter of demand should include a specific lump sum demand for the amount of money you believe will compensate your for all of your injuries and other damages. Generally speaking, you should demand at least 75% more than you think your claim is worth. By asking for more than you believe your case is worth, you leave yourself room to negotiate.

Tips for Demand Letters: What to Avoid

One of the biggest mistakes people make when representing themselves in an auto accident case is failing to keep good records. Remember, the insurance claims adjuster's main job is to deny your claim. If you don't include supporting documentation with your demand letter, you've made the claims adjuster's job much easier.

Other mistakes to avoid include:

  • Not keeping detailed notes about the accident, including how your injuries impacted your life and your spouse and children;
  • Giving recorded statements to the insured's claims adjuster;
  • Admitting that you were in any way responsible for the accident;
  • Stopping medical treatment against doctor's orders; and
  • Engaging in physical activity which your doctors have prohibited.

Help from a Lawyer

Most personal injury attorneys handle motor accident cases on a contingency basis. This means that they don't get paid unless you receive a settlement. Therefore, its best to hire an experienced auto accident attorney who will work diligently to insure that you receive a settlement that compensates your for your injuries, medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other damages.