What Is an Injury Demand Letter?
If someone else’s negligence caused your injury in Virginia, you have the right to bring a claim against that party for damages, or financial compensation. The step that initiates your claim is filing the injury demand letter. You will send a letter describing your accident and demanding compensation to the insurance company of the allegedly at-fault party. An effective demand letter may be all it takes to successfully resolve your personal injury claim.
Elements of an Injury Demand Letter
The civil justice system permits an injured accident victim to seek damages from the negligent or reckless at-fault party. The first step in recovering compensation as a victim is filing a demand letter explaining why you believe you have the right to recover and how much you believe is fair for your injuries. The demand letter will go to the defendant’s insurance company to begin the claims process. The typical demand letter consists of many key parts.
- The date
- The defendant’s full name and address
- Date of injury
- Explanation of liability
- Description of damages
- Description of your physical injuries with an official diagnosis
- Description of your emotional distress
- A list of all medical expenses, past and future
- How the injury has affected your ability to work
- The name of your employer and your current wages
- Medical records and bills enclosed
- Your signature
Your injury demand letter should be succinct and straightforward. Explain liability for your injuries and why you believe the party is at fault in no more than two paragraphs. You will have the opportunity to follow up with more information, evidence and documentation later, if necessary. The demand letter is simply an introduction to your case for the insurance company. If you do not feel confident writing an injury demand letter on your own, contact an attorney to help you with this step.
Tips for an Effective Injury Demand Letter
Be polite and reasonable in your demand letter. Engaging with an insurance company politely can invite compromises and a simpler claims process. Filing an angry demand letter could lead to a drawn-out legal battle or lawsuit. Be specific in your demands, spelling out a particular resolution, such as a specific amount of money to be paid by the defendant by a certain date. Mention the possibility of a lawsuit if the insurance company does not meet your demands. If your demand letter does not elicit a satisfactory response, you may need a lawyer’s assistance.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Write a Demand Letter?
You may need to hire an attorney to write your personal injury demand letter for you if you have a complicated case or serious injuries. In general, you will not need a lawyer for a small or simple accident claim. If you are making a demand for an amount that qualifies for the Small Claims Court ($5,000 in Virginia), you may not need a lawyer to help you obtain a fair amount of compensation. The same is true if liability is clear in your case. If you have complications, however, hiring a personal injury lawyer may be in your best interest.
- High-value case
- Liability dispute
- Multiple defendants
- Comparative negligence
- Workers’ compensation claim
- Catastrophic or permanent injuries
- A loved one’s wrongful death
If you believe you will encounter any challenges in obtaining fair and full compensation for your injuries, contact an attorney to help you with the demand letter. A lawyer’s assistance with your letter could make it easier to establish liability and obtain a reasonable amount. A lawyer will know how to word your letter, which damages to seek and an appropriate amount to demand. A lawyer can also take care of settlement negotiations in the processes following the demand letter. A lawyer will fight for fair compensation during a complicated injury case.