What is a Personal Injury Demand Letter (and How Do I Write One)?

Home  »  Car AccidentsPersonal Injury   »   Can I Write My Own Personal Injury Demand Letter After a Car Accident?

Can I Write My Own Personal Injury Demand Letter After a Car Accident?

Can I Write My Own Personal Injury Demand Letter After a Car Accident?

Jun 18, 2022

Personal injury law can encompass a variety of subsets, such as car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, slip or trip and falls, dog bites, wrongful deaths, product liability claims, and more. When you suffer an injury as a result of another’s negligence – whether an individual or entity/institution – you may be entitled to financial compensation for certain damages.

What is a Personal Injury Demand Letter (and How Do I Write One)?

But how do you go about securing those damages and ensuring that the financial compensation you receive is fair?

Let’s look at how demand letters are used in the personal injury law process. We’ll also review whether or not you need to hire a lawyer after a car accident or other type of personal injury incident, provide information on the types of damages that may be recovered through a civil claim, and include details on how to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a dedicated member of the Dordulian Law Group team.

What is a Personal Injury Demand Letter?

In personal injury law cases, a demand letter constitutes a request to the insurance company or at-fault party on behalf a victim seeking financial compensation for injuries sustained in an incident (like a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, etc.).

Demand letters may be written and submitted by either the injured victim directly or by the injured victim’s attorney. The quality of a demand letter can not only be the difference between settling a car accident or other type of personal injury claim quickly, but it can also have a significant impact on the ultimate value of your final damages award. A strong demand letter must be well-written and include an informative, persuasive, and clear argument. The letter must be professional in both appearance and content.

Why are Demand Letters Important in Personal Injury Cases?

Perhaps the best way to think of a personal injury demand letter is by equating it to an opening argument by a lawyer in a jury trial. The lawyer needs to present his or her case in a clear and persuasive manner, and the success of said argument can determine the final outcome of the trial.

But in a demand letter, the injured victim or his or her attorney is making an argument for financial compensation to the insurance company or at-fault party. Accordingly, the demand letter needs to effectively communicate the following points:

  • When, where, and how the accident/incident occurred
  • Why the at-fault party is liable/responsible
  • The nature – in terms of severity and extent – of the victim’s injuries
  • The specific damages the victim has incurred and will likely continue to incur as a result of those injuries

The purpose of a personal injury demand letter, much like the purpose of an attorney’s opening argument in a jury trial, is to present the facts of the case while conveying why the victim deserves to be financially compensated (or made whole, in legalese) for his or her injuries.

How Important is the Written Quality of a Demand Letter?

In a word: very. A well-written demand letter can be one of the most effective tools for alerting the at-fault party or insurance company of the incident, but also of the serious nature of the injuries. An effective and professionally-written demand letter can establish a groundwork for settlement negotiations. Moreover, a demand letter can convey whether the injured victim is requesting a lump sum payment for injury damages or if a payment plan will be an option.

A demand letter is the first step in the personal injury recovery process, and if it is written well and in a way that presents an effective argument, your case may be able to be settled without ever having to formally file a legal action against the insurance provider or at-fault party. However, it’s important to consider that a demand letter should only include enough information to present an effective argument for why you deserve financial compensation. You never want to include information that could jeopardize your claim in the event that you have to formally file a legal action or even go to trial.

In other words, it’s important to be concise when writing a demand letter. Only the pertinent facts related to the case and injuries need be included.

If a demand letter is ineffective (or if the insurance company or at-fault party refutes any of the information provided within), your next step in the personal injury claims process will likely be to file a civil lawsuit in either small claims or superior court.

What Information Should a Personal Injury Demand Letter Include?

As stated earlier, a personal injury demand letter should be concise, well-written, and professional in every way. You want to give the recipient (insurance company or defendant) enough information to provide an overall picture of what transpired when you were injured. If you were injured in a car accident by another driver’s negligence, you will need to effectively communicate why the defendant is liable for your injuries (and how you were injured).

In most personal injury demand letters, the following information is included:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident/incident
  • The name, contact information, and basic details of all involved parties (plaintiff(s) and defendant(s))
  • A clear recounting of the version of events (what transpired)
  • Details pertaining to the injuries sustained by the victim
  • Documents supporting all of the above information

What Supporting Documents Should be Included in a Personal Injury Demand Letter?

After your car accident or other personal injury incident, you will likely have a number of documents related to your claim. Some of the most important documents that you may want to consider including with your demand letter to support your argument/version of events include:

  • Hospital or medical records (including X-rays, MRI or CT scans, test results, etc.)
  • Photos and videos of the accident scene
  • Photos and videos of your injuries
  • Photos and videos of the property damage (if applicable)
  • A detailed summary of the damages/expenses you as the injured victim have incurred and expect to continue incurring in the future as a result of the accident/incident

Said detailed summary may include documentation such as medical bills, hospital bills, physical therapy or rehabilitation bills, car repair bills, lost wages verification, and future earning capacity information (often in the form of an expert letter).

Additionally, your detailed summary should include information related to any non-economic damages you sustained as a result of the accident. Non-economic damages may include things like pain and suffering, scarring or disfigurement, loss of limb, loss of physical functioning, etc.

Such documentation often includes photos and/or videos as well as medical records, doctor’s reports, etc.

How Much Money Should I Ask for in a Personal Injury Demand Letter?

Although it may seem like asking for a specific dollar amount in a demand letter may be a good idea, it’s actually recommended that injured victims do not include such a figure. As a general rule, it’s advisable to not ask for a specific dollar amount in your demand letter because you don’t necessarily know the full extent of your injuries at the time of drafting the document.

Furthermore, if your claim includes attorney’s fees, court costs, filing charges, and other miscellaneous expenses, those line items can add up quickly and leave you “holding the bag” if you fail to include them accurately when determining a specific dollar amount.

But perhaps more importantly, asking for a specific dollar amount can make the process of negotiating a fair and maximized settlement much more difficult for the injured victim. For example, if you request $100,000 for your hospital and medical bills as well as any pain and suffering, it can be problematic to change that figure in the event of incurring additional damages for things like lost wages, diminished quality of life, emotional trauma, and more.

In other words, it’s always in the injured victim’s (plaintiff) best interest to issue the demand letter and then wait to see what sort of financial compensation offer the insurance claims adjuster or at-fault party provides in response.

The only time a specific dollar amount may warrant inclusion in a personal injury demand letter is when the victim is seeking the maximum allowable payout under a specific insurance policy. However, it’s important to note that such a dollar amount needs to be known without any doubt by the injured party, and the evidence you provide must support said figure.

Can I Write/Submit My Own Demand Letter or Do I Need an Attorney?

Can I Write/Submit My Own Demand Letter or Do I Need an Attorney?
The importance of a demand letter after car, truck, motorcycle, Uber/Lyft, slip and fall, dog bite, or other type of personal injury case simply cannot be overstated. The demand letter together with the supporting documentation that is issued to the insurance claims adjuster or at-fault party therefore must be as well-written, effectively communicated, persuasive, and professional as possible.

While you have the right to write and submit your own demand letter after a car accident injury, it is typically recommended that you do so with the aid of a licensed, experienced, and proven personal injury lawyer. Personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers in particular have significant experience dealing with insurance companies, and that can equate to a much more effective demand letter that ultimately results in a substantially higher settlement award.

But it’s also important to remember that most personal injury lawyers, including the dedicated team at Dordulian Law Group (DLG), typically offer free, confidential, and no obligation consultations. Hence, it’s absolutely in your best interest to at least review your case with a personal injury or car accident lawyer before determining whether to write your own demand letter.

DLG’s personal injury and car accident lawyers handle demand letters on behalf of injured victims like you each and every day. As a result, we know what information to include (and, perhaps more importantly, what not to include). In addition, we know how to present an effective and compelling argument, and how to do so in the most professional yet succinct manner.

Moreover, when an insurance adjuster or at-fault party receives a demand letter from a licensed California lawyer, it’s (unfortunately) often taken more seriously by the recipient – regardless of whether that entails an insurance company or at-fault party. Insurance adjusters know how to spot a demand letter that has been written with the aid of an online template using boilerplate language. And in many cases, while not necessarily fair, they do not take them as seriously or respond as quickly when compared to demand letters sent by licensed and experienced personal injury lawyers.

A demand letter from a DLG personal injury lawyer shows the insurance company or at-fault party:

  • You, as the injured victim, are serious about recovering maximum financial compensation
  • You are acting in good faith by attempting to resolve the issue fairly and in a timely manner

What Types of Damages May be Recovered After Issuing an Effective Demand Letter?

If you’ve been injured in a Los Angeles-area car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or Uber/Lyft accident, you may be entitled to a maximum cash settlement through a civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group (DLG). Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers are standing by and ready to fight aggressively on your behalf to secure all applicable damages for your claim.

California car accident or personal injury lawsuit damages often include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Hospital or medical expenses
  • Emotional trauma
  • Psychological distress
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life

Having an experienced personal injury lawyer fighting in your corner can make all the difference in the world in terms of ensuring that you recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve for all damages and are able to make a complete recovery which includes your physical, emotional, and financial well-being.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and are thinking of drafting and issuing your own demand letter to the insurance company or at-fault party, consider contacting DLG for a free and no obligation consultation. Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you’ll never be charged a penny until we successfully recover maximum financial compensation for your claim. With DLG’s car accident and personal injury attorneys, you never pay anything upfront or out-of-pocket. If we don’t we win, you don’t pay – it’s that simple.

Reach out to a member of our team today to discuss your case at 818-322-4056.

DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County with more than 25 years of experience helping personal injury victims recover maximum financial damages awards. Dordulian has accumulated over 100 jury trial victories, and together with his team of experienced attorneys, he’s helped clients secure more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts. With our 98% success record, you can rest easy knowing that your Los Angeles personal injury claim is in the best possible hands.

When you’re injured in an accident and in need of financial compensation, DLG is here to help you obtain the justice you deserve.

Go See Sam