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What is a Demand Letter in a Personal Injury Case?

What is a Demand Letter in a Personal Injury Case?

Aug 26, 2022

Accidents happen. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, Americans make a collective 35 million injury-related visits to emergency rooms each year. After a major accident, a person needs financial support to pay their medical bills and provide for their family. If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, you can hold them liable through a personal injury claim. 

That being said, it is not always easy to secure fair personal injury compensation. Defendants and their insurance companies are more interested in protecting their own bottom line. It is crucial that you know how to navigate the settlement process. A demand letter is an important tool. In this article, our experienced Hillsborough, NC personal injury attorney provides an in-depth guide to demand letters. 

Personal Injury Law: What is a Demand Letter?

A demand letter is typically drafted by a lawyer on behalf of a client. It is a legal notice that informs a counterparty (potential defendant) that you have a claim and intend to pursue your claim. In addition, a personal injury demand letter should make an express request for what needs to be done to settle your claim outside of court. In other words, a demand is made for compensation. 

A demand letter in a personal injury case serves a number of different important purposes. To start, it notifies potential defendants and their insurers of your case. Next, it clarifies why they are legally liable for your injuries. Finally, it states the amount that you are seeking compensation to resolve the matter outside of litigation. 

Note: Sending a demand letter does not mean that you have filed a lawsuit. A personal injury demand letter generally comes before a lawsuit is filed. 

Know the Core Elements of an Effective Personal Injury Demand Letter

When done the right way, a personal injury demand letter can help to get successful results in a personal injury case. That being said, a poorly-written demand letter is unlikely to produce a positive outcome. It could even cause problems for your case down the road. Here are some of the key elements of a well-written personal injury demand letter: 

  1. Clear Account of Incident/Accident: A personal injury demand letter should clearly explain what happened so that all parties are fully aware of the matter. 
  2. Statement of Liability: A defendant or insurer is unlikely to take settlement negotiations seriously unless they are convinced that they bear liability for the accident. 
  3. Overview of Damages: In general, a personal injury demand letter should make a request for compensation based on the full extent of damages sustained in the accident. You should ensure that all of your damages are included.   
  4. A Fair and Reasonable Deadline to Response: Choose the right deadline for the defendant or insurer to provide its response. You do not want to give them too little or too much time.  
  5. Straightforward Statement of Intent: Finally, a personal injury demand letter in North Carolina should clearly and unequivocally state that you intend to escalate the matter—potentially including filing a personal injury lawsuit—if the case is not settled. 

A Properly Drafted Demand Letter Can Move Your Personal Injury Claim Forward

While it is possible in some minor and moderate personal injury cases, it is important to understand that the defendant/insurance company’s response to the demand letter will often not be a payment of the full amount requested. Instead, a demand letter is a way to move settlement negotiations forward. Your settlement should include full and fair compensation. Recovery may include: 

  • Property damage  
  • Emergency room care
  • Hospital bills
  • Other health costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning power
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Long-term disability

A well-crafted personal injury demand letter can move settlement negotiations forward. At the same time, a demand letter is one step of the personal injury claims process. After a serious accident in North Carolina, you should be represented by an attorney who has the skills and proven experience to get you results. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Hillsborough, NC

At Paynter Law, our resourceful North Carolina personal injury attorneys fight hard to get victims justice and full financial compensation. If you have any questions about demand letters, we can help. Reach out to us by phone or connect with us online to set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation. From our legal office in Hillsborough, we provide personal injury representation throughout the entire area, including in Orange County, Wake County, Durham County, Chatham County, and Alamance County.