If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, the first step in pursuing civil damages is a demand letter.
Demand letters are the initial correspondence made by the plaintiff (person who was hurt) to the insurance company that provides coverage on behalf of at-fault or negligent parties. South Florida injury attorneys draft demand letters for cases involving car accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, and other claims.
A well-drafted demand letter can potentially help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries while avoiding a personal injury lawsuit altogether. This is why it’s imperative that you work with an experienced Palm Beach injury attorney. It is inadvisable for personal injury plaintiffs to write their own demand letters because often these cases are more complicated than they appear at first blush. A poorly-written demand letter can significantly damage your case potential.
An injury attorney will help you apply the law to your case, determine the full extent of your damages, identify all potential defendants/at-fault parties, ascertain causes of action for your claim, advise you of your case value and viability and draft the demand letter to insurers.
What Exactly is In a Demand Letter?
Demand letters in a Florida personal injury case are going to summarize the basic elements of the case, the statutes and case law applicable to the situation, an explanation of the damages, and the insurer’s responsibility to cover those damages. The goal is to compel the insurer to pay the claim for a fair sum.
Some of elements commonly included:
- Detailed explanation of what happened and how the incident resulted in the client’s injuries.
- Explanation for our assertion that the respondent insurer is liable to compensate our client for his/her damages.
- Thorough description of the client’s injuries, impairments, disabilities, and prognosis.
- Details of the medical treatments and costs, past, ongoing, and future.
- An affidavit from a treating physician that explains the extent and permanency of the client’s injuries.
- A line-item accounting of losses, including medical expenses, wages, benefits, property damages, out-of-pocket expenses, etc.
- Explanation of the client’s pain and suffering stemming from the injuries.
- Attached documentation of supporting evidence.
- A dollar figure for which our client would agree to settle the claim against the defendant/insured.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but each one of these elements requires careful research to assure accuracy and that demands are properly stated. If there are inaccuracies or other issues with the demand letter, the insurer may deny the request AND use the information against you in later proceedings. Working with a knowledgeable local injury attorney can save you from costly mistakes, and may help bring the matter to a swift resolution.
Demand Letter is the Beginning of Settlement Negotiations
The vast majority of Florida personal injury claims are resolved without a trial. Sometimes, if the demand letter is expertly drafted and the evidence is strong, settlement may not even require litigation. More typically though, the demand letter is the beginning of settlement negotiations in your injury case.
The insurer will take the information contained in the demand letter, along with the information they’ve collected from their own investigation, and decide whether to take their chances of a trial, pay what you’ve asked, or (more likely) make a counter-offer. Your attorney can advise you of what is a reasonable settlement amount and what is a low-ball offer. This advice will take into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the extent of your injuries.
Insurance settlement negotiations can stretch on for several months, but the goal of the plaintiff’s to ensure the client receives full and fair compensation for their losses. Starting off with a strong demand letter is essential.
Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.
F.S. 501.98, Florida Statutes, Demand Letter
More Blog Entries:
Palm Beach Car Accident Survivors Should Understand the Florida Impact Rule, Aug. 5, 2021, West Palm Beach Injury Lawyer Blog