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Your Guide to Demand Letters and Personal Injury Claims: (What they are, Why they are Important, and How to Write One) 

Were you or your loved one hurt in an accident in Georgia? It is imperative that you are able to secure the full and fair financial compensation that you need to pay your bills and support your family. While a trial does happen in some personal injury cases, settlements are far more common. How do you actually get a personal injury settlement from the insurance company?

The short answer is that settlements are negotiated—and the process for negotiating a personal settlement typically starts with a document called a demand letter. Here, our Atlanta personal injury attorney provides a comprehensive overview of demand letters, including what they are, why they matter, and how to draft one. 

What is a Demand Letter? (Personal Injury Case)

At its core, a demand letter is a tool. The Legal Information Institute defines a demand letter as a written document that is for “outlining the dispute between the two opposing parties and demanding that the recipient of the letter take or seize a certain action.” In other words, a demand letter is used for notifying the defendant and its insurance carrier of your claim and stating what needs to be done to resolve the claim outside of court. It is a formal request for a resolution. 

Why a Demand Letter is Such an Important Tool

A demand Letter is a vital tool in the personal injury claims process in Georgia. Here is the key point to understand: Only a small number of personal injury claims actually go to trial. Most cases settle out of court. However, getting a full and fair personal injury settlement can be incredibly challenging. Insurance companies aim to pay as little as possible. 

The demand letter kick-starts negotiations by clearly laying out the case’s facts, the extent of injuries, and the compensation sought. Not only does this open the door to settlement talks but also establishes the strength and value of your claim. It signals to the insurer that you are prepared and serious about getting fair compensation. 

The Central Elements of a Proper Personal Injury Demand Letter

A proper demand letter can help move your personal injury claim towards a full and proper settlement. On the other hand, a sloppy or badly-written demand letter could actually undermine your case. When navigating the aftermath of a serious accident in Atlanta and working towards a settlement, you need to ensure that any demand letter that is sent to the defense and/or insurance company is well-drafted. It should include all of the major fundamental elements. Here are five of the most important points that should generally be addressed within a demand letter: 

  • A Comprehensive Account of the Accident: To start, a demand letter should include a detailed description of the incident that led to your injuries. It should include the date, time, and location of the accident, along with a step-by-step account of what occurred. That being said, there should not be any speculation or unnecessary information that could undermine your claim. By presenting a clear and factual narrative, you help establish the context. 
  • A Clear Statement of Defendant’s Liability: After describing the underlying accident in detail, it is also crucial to explicitly state why you believe the defendant is at fault. Typically, the demand letter will include language explaining the defendant’s negligence and linking the negligence to the accident. The recipient of the demand letter—usually an insurance company—should understand its liability. 
  • A Request (Demand) for Financial Compensation: Within this section of a demand letter, an injured victim should specify the amount of money you are seeking as compensation for the damages suffered. Along with other losses, this includes medical bills, physical rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and for pain and suffering. A demand letter should make a clear and specific request (demand) for financial compensation. 
  • A Reasonable Deadline for a Response: Setting a deadline for the defendant or their insurance company to respond to your letter is important. Doing so creates a sense of urgency and encourages a timely reply. A typical timeframe might be 30 days from the receipt of the letter, giving them sufficient time to review your claim and respond.
  • A Statement of Intent—Lawsuit Will Be Filed: Finally, a demand letter should clearly indicate that the sender (injured victim) is prepared to file a lawsuit if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached. To be clear, this does not really mean that you are threatening legal action. Instead, it is best to think about it as asserting your legal rights. You always want to make it clear that you are ready to pursue every available remedy under Georgia law to get justice and the maximum available financial compensation. 

A Demand Letter Should Always Be Drafted By an Attorney

Personal injury law is complicated—and demand letters are certainly no exception to that rule. You can be sure that the defendant and insurance company has experienced legal representation on its side. With this in mind, it is crucial that your demand letter is drafted by an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer. An attorney will adhere to all legal requirements and best practices to put you in position to move settlement negotiations forward and secure the full and fair financial compensation for your damages. Another key thing to remember is that having an Atlanta personal injury lawyer signals to the insurance company that you are serious about your claim and prepared to take legal action if necessary. This can lead to a more favorable settlement offer. 

Contact Our Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer for Immediate Help With Your Case

At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys go above and beyond to deliver justice for injured victims. If you have any specific questions or concerns about personal injury settlements, we are here to help. Call us at (404) 529-3476 or connect with us directly online for a free case review. Our law firm is located in Atlanta and we handle personal injury cases all across the surrounding region. 

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