What is a demand letter? How much will my lawyer ask for in the demand?
The demand letter is the final culmination of all the work done by your attorneys and staff in putting together a package to send to the liability insurance company to ask for payment on your claim. One way to think of it is sort of like an invoice or bill, wherein your attorney is asking, on your behalf, that you be paid money in compensation for your medical bills, injuries, pain, suffering, inconvenience, etc.
The letter itself is your attorney’s summarization and characterization of the facts of your accident, and all of your medical treatment, as well as any other issues that need to be addressed that may impact the value of your claim. At this stage of the game, your attorney’s job is to essentially argue your case to the insurance adjuster and insurance company, and help them understand why they need to pay to resolve your claim.
Is absolutely essential that your demand letter and package be prepared by an attorney who is intimately familiar with personal injury law. This is because a personal injury attorney understands what factors are important to insurance companies when they evaluate claims. Oftentimes, the large insurance companies utilize computer programs to assist them in evaluating claims. There are certain types of items that go into this evaluation that will increase the value of your claim, and certain items which will not increase the value of your claim.
Accordingly, when your attorney looks through your medical records, he or she will be looking for specific items to bring to the attention of the adjuster which they know will enhance the value of your claim, and they will mention these items specifically in their demand letter.
Attached to that letter are typically all of your medical bills and medical records related to your treatment from the accident, the police accident report and disposition of the case in traffic court, photographs of the damage to your vehicle and/or your injuries from the accident, information pertaining to any lost wages that you may have from the accident, and if necessary, medical records which predate your accident which may have some bearing on your case. Oftentimes, the attorney may also include special anatomical diagrams, or in certain circumstances, case law and/or statutory law that is relevant to your particular claim.