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Personal Injury: What is a Demand Letter?

May 27, 2020 – Matt Albrecht

Personal Injury: What is a Demand Letter? Albrecht Law - Spokane Valley, WA

Most personal injury claims are resolved outside of litigation. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimates that less than five percent of personal injury cases actually enter the courtroom. In fact, many personal injury claims are settled without a lawsuit ever being filed. 

Drafting and sending a demand letter can be an effective way to initiate the personal injury claims process and move a case towards an efficient resolution. Here, our Spokane personal injury attorneys discuss the key things you should know about demand letters. 

Demand Letters: Explained

A demand letter is a document that gives a counterparty (defendant/insurance company) formal notice that you are considering taking legal action. To clarify, sending a demand letter is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit. 

In a demand letter an injured victim (claimant/potential plaintiff) notifies the defendant of the existence of their claim and makes a specific request for financial compensation to settle the matter outside of litigation. 

As a general rule, a demand letter will not result in an immediate settlement of a case. Instead, it will start the process through which a personal injury claim can eventually be resolved—either through a full and fair settlement or through a lawsuit. 

What Makes an Effective Demand Letter

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is sending a sloppy and poorly thought out demand letter. Doing so will get things off on the wrong foot. Not only will it slow down the personal injury claims process, but worse it could actually undermine your ability to recover the full financial support that you rightfully deserve. A demand letter should be drafted by an experienced personal injury lawyer. A well-crafted demand letter should include the following five things:

  1. A detailed and accurate explanation of the facts;
  2. A notice of the defendant’s responsibility/liability;
  3. A specific demand for financial compensation to resolve the personal injury claim;
  4. A statement of your intention to take legal action if the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction; and
  5. A deadline for the defendant to respond to your demand. 

When insurance companies and corporations receive poorly drafted, amateur demand letters, they tend to not take those cases very seriously. Ultimately, these companies are worried about their own bottom line. If they do not think they can be held liable in court, they are probably not going to settle the case. On the other hand, a well-drafted, detailed demand letter can quickly bring an insurer/defendant to the negotiating table. Our Spokane personal injury lawyers can help you craft a demand letter to get you the full compensation you deserve. 

Contact Our Washington Personal Injury Attorneys Today

At‌ ‌Albrecht‌ ‌Law‌ ‌PLLC, our Spokane personal injury lawyers are authoritative, knowledgeable advocates for victims and their family members. We can help you draft an effective, focused demand letter. To set up a free, confidential initial consultation with a top-rated accident attorney, please contact us today. We serve communities throughout the region, including in Spokane, Town and Country, Country Homes, Mead, and Chattaroy.

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