Were you recently injured in an accident? Was the accident caused by another person's recklessness or negligence? If so, you may be in the process of pursuing compensation from the liable party's insurance company. That process usually begins with a demand letter. A demand letter is a written document that you submit to the insurer to demand a certain amount of compensation. It usually starts a settlement negotiation process. Since it's your first communication in that process, you'll want to take the time to make sure the letter is as effective as possible. Here are a few demand letter tips to get your negotiation started on the right foot:
Stick with the facts. In your demand letter, you should state what injuries you suffered, what property you may have lost, why the other party is liable, and how much in damages you are seeking. When you state these items, stick to the facts and nothing else. Insurance adjusters read demand letters everyday. They're experts at deciphering when someone is exaggerating or even being dishonest. Use proper medical terminology to describe your injuries. State the exact amount of time that you had to take off of work, or the precise damage that was inflicted on your car.
Resist the urge to use emotional language, as it won't help your cause and may even do more harm than good. Stick to the facts and use a professional tone.
Include all relevant documentation. You may have suffered substantial physical injury and pain. Your car or other property may have been totally destroyed. That could all be true, but an adjuster is unlikely to take your word for it. They want proof, and often the best form of proof is documentation from independent third parties. That may include medical reports from a doctor, police reports, and even description of damage from your mechanic.
Include all of this documentation with your letter and reference the appropriate documents when you're stating the extent of your injuries or your property damage. The documentation will help the adjuster quickly review your letter and reply with an appropriate counteroffer.
Make a clear demand and set a deadline. The entire purpose of the demand letter is to start the settlement negotiation process. You should use the letter as an opportunity to stake out your position. End the letter with a very clear demand for compensation. Ask for an exact dollar amount. Also, be sure to aim high with this number, as the adjuster is likely to counter with a lower amount. Also, set a deadline for response before you take the issue to court. Insurance adjusters are often compensated to avoid litigation at all costs, so a deadline will encourage them to move faster.
For more information, talk to a personal injury lawyer, such as O'Connor Mikita & Davidson LLC, for more information.