Properly written demand letters can quickly resolve a personal injury claim and alleviate the need for lengthy litigation. A well-written demand letter to the responsible party or their insurance provider establishes the cause of the claim, the injuries that were suffered, and the financial impact the injury has caused. This letter should be sent by the individual’s personal injury attorney in Las Vegas once total damages have been determined.
Stick to the Facts
Demand letters should be devoid of emotion and pleas for help. Rather, they should focus on the facts of the case. The tone set within the letter should be firm, but not overly aggressive. Sticking to the facts lessens the possibility that the recipient will fight the claim in court.
The demand letter should start by clearly identifying the time, date, location, and circumstances of the injury. This creates a baseline for the claim and should establish the liability of the recipient. Next, the letter should discuss the injuries that were suffered and the treatments performed to correct the injury. This should be a comprehensive list that shows the total cost of medical appointments, surgical procedures, and therapeutic appointments.
Following identification of costs of treatment, individuals should also list any expenses or financial losses that are a result of the injury. The summary of expenses should include lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of benefits, pain, and suffering, as well as the need for ongoing treatments. The list of costs and expenses should be as clear and concise as possible.
The demand letter should be written in chronological order and should be supported with sufficient documentation of the listed expenses and treatments. It should also clearly establish the liability of the recipient and the actions that led the victim to suffer the injury.
Close with a Deadline
The recipient should be given a specific date to respond to the letter. This period varies and can be as short as a couple of weeks, or as long as a few months. This gives the recipient sufficient time to consider the victim’s demands. It is an opportunity to determine whether or not they want to defend themselves during a personal injury trial or settle the claim immediately.
Prepare for Negotiations
It is common for recipients of well-written demand letters to negotiate the requested settlement amount. Often, recipients who negotiate demand letters will offer to pay some of the requested amount, but not the full amount. For instance, they may pay for medical expenses and lost wages but may dispute the amounts claimed for pain and suffering or loss of earning capacity. When negotiations are requested, it is vital for both parties to make a good faith effort to negotiate a fair personal injury settlement.
Prior to negotiations, the recipients will consider the individual’s arguments and estimate their share of liability in paying the individual’s demands. In cases where multiple parties may be liable, recipients may reduce the amount they are willing to pay based on their share of the overall responsibility for the injury. Individuals and their personal injury attorney in Las Vegas should always be prepared for this possibility.
Mistakes to Avoid
Demand letters should never contain threats or a list of actions that will occur should the recipient reject payment of the requested funds. Individuals should never threaten to publicly shame or cause any form of injury to the recipient should they refuse to pay.
It is also vital to include supporting information from hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, etc. This information should include the treatments received and receipts for expenses paid. Individuals should also include pay stubs, insurance statements, and other supporting records. Failing to include these can cause the recipient to summarily reject the payment.
Letters should never be handwritten or sent on personal stationery. Letters should always be typed and printed on letterhead from the personal injury attorney in Las Vegas. This shows that the individual has secured legal representation and is prepared to pursue a personal injury claim if the recipient rejects the requested payment or chooses to defend themselves in court.
Individuals should also never respond directly to phone calls or other forms of communication sent by the recipient or their insurance provider. Any communications should be directed and handled by the individual’s attorney. These communications should be recorded and cataloged. In the event the recipient or their insurance provider chooses to defend the claim, these communications can be presented as evidence to the court.
Finally, letters should never be sent via regular mail because the individual can claim they never received the letter. Instead, letters should be sent with tracking/delivery confirmation because this establishes precisely when the letter was received and who signed for it.