When you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you may need to submit a car accident demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. Writing a strong demand letter can settle your compensation and set the stage for a California car accident claim.
You may write your own letter of demand, but a well-written demand letter from an attorney can strengthen your case. Working with a car accident lawyer can give you the legal advantage to get maximum compensation.
When to Use a Demand Letter for Your Car Accident Claim
You should wait until you are near the end of your medical treatment before sending your demand letter. Your doctor may prescribe more medical treatment in the future, resulting in increased costs to add to your claim.
Consider how much time you have left to file your claim. California has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of an injury to file a personal injury claim. If you discover an injury after the accident, you have one year from the date of discovery of your injury to file your claim.
You should send the legal demand letter with enough time left within the statute to file a personal injury lawsuit if the insurance company doesn’t agree to a reasonable car accident settlement. If you wait too long, you could lose your opportunity to collect damages.
How to Write a Demand Letter for a California Personal Injury Case
This California demand letter guide can help you create a thoughtful demand letter.
1. How Important is a Demand Letter for a California Injury Case?
If the settlement is less than $10,0000, you must send a demand letter before going to small claims court. The demand letter gives all the reasons you require compensation from the insurance company.
A demand letter starts legal negotiations and influences the insurance company to settle faster rather than proceeding to court. If they do not settle your case, you may need to file a lawsuit in court.
2. Why Does the Demand Letter Need to be Effective?
The settlement demand letter explains the details of the accident and why the other driver is responsible for paying damages. It also details your injuries and their effects on your life. It also includes an estimate of your current and future medical bills and other expenses.
A well-written demand letter can sound professional, convey compelling information about the accident, and show the consequences of the other party’s actions. The letter can help appeal to the insurance company’s best interest to resolve the case before going to court.
3. What Should a Demand Letter Include?
A demand letter must include sufficient information about the accident and your injuries for the insurance company. You can write your own DIY demand letter with this outline:
Information about the accident: Include the time, date, and location of the accident and all the people involved. The letter can recount what happened in the car accident.
Your injuries: Write about the injuries you sustained from the accident. It’s important to add documentation of your injuries, including test results and photos of the accident.
Summary of damages: Summarize your current and future damages for healthcare provider visits, loss of wages, and car repair invoices.
At the end of your letter, add the deadline for the insurance company to respond to you. If they refuse to resolve the case by the deadline, you will promptly initiate legal proceedings.
The next step after a letter of demand is to make copies of your demand letter. You can send the letter by certified mail with a request for a return receipt. If the insurance company cannot dispute, they did not receive the demand letter.
4. Is it Okay to Ask for a Bigger Sum in Your Demand Letter?
If you’re seeking the highest amount in your insurance policy, you should ask for that amount. However, asking for a dollar amount is not always appropriate.
When you write a demand letter, you may not know the total amount of damages required to cover your expenses, including attorney fees. The insurance company should make the initial settlement offer to you so that you can calculate your total damages.
5. Why Should an Attorney Write a Demand Letter for You?
A car accident attorney knows how to effectively prepare a demand letter, ensuring you receive a favorable outcome in your case. Lawyers regularly write legal documents and understand what to include based on California law.
When a demand letter comes from a lawyer, the insurance company may be much more receptive and willing to cooperate with your demand letter.
Contact an Experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer
When you need help with a demand letter, The Shirvanian Law Firm can help make sure the letter is professional and according to the law. Contact us for a free consultation to get started writing your demand letter.