Writing a Letter of Demand
Writing a great letter of demand, can help you increase the amount of your personal injury settlements. It is therefore important you understand which things increase the amount of money you receive from your auto insurance claims
Injuries and Treatment
In your letter of demand, you should write
- Which injuries you suffered.
- Describe the pain and suffering from those injuries and treatments.
When you are trying to describe your pain suffering, keep these questions in mind:
- How did the injuries make your life more difficult?
- Were you able to sleep at night?
- Was your the treatment painful?
You should also use medical terms to describe your injuries. Using clinical terms gives your injuries more seriousness.
For example, saying disk herniation is stronger than a strained back.
Check your medical report or speak with your doctor to find the right medical term for your injuries.
Showing More Pain and Suffering
In your letter of demand, you should describe how the injuries impacted your personal lifestyle.
- Did your injuries cause you any embarrassment? (ex: visible scar)
- Were you unable to perform or participate in an activity you enjoy? (ex: running, taking care of kids)
- Did you miss a special occasion? (ex: wedding, graduation, dream vacation)
All of these lifestyle changes should be mentioned in your letter of demand. This helps show your pain and suffering. Using the personal injury calculator, you can see how this would help raise your compensation
Immediately after you're done talking about your injuries, list all the medical treatment you received. This should match what the medical bills you will be sending with your letter of demand.
Include the type of treatment you received and how much it cost. List the cost of your treatment even if it was paid by your HMO or employee health care plan.
Your Lost Income
If you missed any time from work, include a brief statement in your letter of demand stating how much time you missed. Include any documentation from your current employer that includes your hourly rate and the total income you lost.
You don't need to mention if you used vacation days or sick leave. The time you missed and the amount you would have made is the only relevant point.
Your Personal Injury Settlement Figure
1. Check Personal Injury Calculator
Review the personal injury settlements calculator , to see which range your claims falls into. Look at all your facts and evidence to see how high your multiplier should be. For example, if you suffered a painful injury like having your leg broken and you have clear evidence that the other driver was at fault, your multiplier would be on the high end around 5.
2. Demand for Your Settlement
In your last paragraph, you will make a demand for a specific amount of compensation for all your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income and other losses. You donÕt need to include any damages to your car. That is handled as a separate property damage claims. (Read Getting Paid From Car Accident Claims ).
Before you state your settlement amount, briefly restate your strongest points about your claim. Highlight any fact like long term injury or permanent injuries, or clear evidence of other drivers fault. Mentioning these again will reiterate why you settlement should be high.(Read Personal Injury Settlements to see how your claims value is determined)
How Much Should You Ask For?
The amount you write in the demand letter will be the beginning part of your negotiation. It is important that you chose a realistic figure so that the insurance company knows you didnÕt just pick a randomly high settlement number.
If you start too high, the other party will start too low. This will go back and forth until you come to a number in between where both of you will be happy.
The letter of demand is the start of your settlement negotiation. You should aim to ask for a figure higher than you would be willing to accept.
A general rule is to pick a settlement amount that is 80-100% higher than what you would be happy with. For example, if your claim is worth $1,000, ask between $1,800 - $2,000. This gives you more room to negotiate if the adjuster tries to bargain his way down.
Asking for a realistic settlement figure also shows that you understand the claims process and how much your settlement is worth. This will help you get more money from your personal injury settlements.