An settlement demand letter for a car accident settlement is a correspondence, usually written by a lawyer representing the injured party. The demand letter is usually demanding that payment be made or some other action be taken. If you need to write a car accident settlement demand letter, ideally, you have an attorney to do the bulk of the work for you. Even when you do, it’s worth understanding the process and the various components.
So, if you’ve ever wondered, “How do you write an insurance company demand letter?” use this simple guideline to get started.
1. What to Include in a Car Accident Settlement Demand Letter
Your settlement demand letter needs to answer some important questions. This reduces the back and forth before the insurance company begins to negotiate the dollar value:
• What injuries were sustained as a result of the car accident, and what are the associated medical costs?
• What other damages have you suffered?
• What are the repair costs or the replacement cost of your vehicle?
• If you are not a salaried worker and missed work, what is the total income loss?
• Why do you believe the other person is legally responsible for the injuries you sustained?
• Why do you qualify to make a claim under this insurance policy?
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2. Stick to The Facts
Many people believe they can appeal to the humanity of an insurance claims adjuster to get a bigger payout for their car accident. This is rarely, if ever true. Insurance companies are focused primarily on reducing risk. When the insurance company reads a particularly heartbreaking story, what its workers tend to feel much more than empathy is panic, because of the potential for a big payout. They will then make moves to counter this.
When writing the car accident settlement demand letter, focus more on the facts. Use a reporting style when detailing the information. This does not mean writing in a detached tone or third person. It does mean wasting less time on an emotional campaign.
For more guidance, see our Sample Car Accident Settlement Demand Letter section , where you can find sample demand letters for various types of car accidents to use as a template for writing your own car accident settlement demand letter.
3. Attach the Necessary Documents to Support Your Car Accident Settlement Demand Letter
When you send a demand letter to an insurance company, it does not arrive in isolation. Also included are all the documents that back up your arguments. The more documentation you have to prove that your claim is legitimate, the higher the chances of the insurance company negotiating a reasonable settlement. At the bare minimum, include the following:
• Pay stubs or W2s to show the value of paid work time lost
• Police reports and witness statements
• Photos and dash cam footage if available
• Funeral expenses
• Medical records
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4. Decide on the Recipient(s)
Some attorneys recommend sending at least two demand letters. Why? By the time you decide on what to include in your demand letter, you may receive information from the insurance companies explaining who will handle full or partial damages. Sometimes this is one or both companies. In some cases, it can even be neither.
Use this information to help you decide to whom you should send an insurance claim. For instance, if the insurance companies agree that the other driver is liable, you send a claim to his or her insurance company detailing damages. If the person has no insurance or is underinsured, you may need to sue him or her separately. If the person does not respond to the suit, you could end up bringing a claim against your own insurance company.
Remember to tailor the letter to the specific recipient. This is especially important when you have one letter for an insurance company and another for an individual with no legal experience. The wording of these letters and the specific details you include would not be the same. Take care when sending personal information, such as medical records, to individuals.
This article provides only basic information to answer the question, “How do you write a demand letter for a car accident settlement?” For more detailed information and to ensure the demand letter is professionally done, enlist the help of an experienced attorney. When insurance companies realize you have hired an attorney, many are also more likely to take the auto accident claim more seriously and negotiate fairer terms.