If you have decided to tackle your own Providence car accident case, you should be prepared to write a settlement demand letter. You might be wondering why the demand letter is necessary if you can just call the defendant’s insurance company and tell them how much money you need to settle your claim.
If you make a verbal claim over the phone, the insurer will get the impression that you are just like any other lawyerless claimant they have dealt with before. You will appear disorganized, unprofessional and they won’t take your claim seriously.
It’s best to let the insurer know that you are serious about your car accident claim by presenting your initial settlement offer in the form of a demand letter accompanied by grounds for making such an offer. The insurer will see that you are just as serious as any car accident lawyer in Providence and you are not to be messed with.
How to Structure a Settlement Demand Letter for Your Providence Car Accident Case
The Claims Information Section
This section should have five parts. These five parts lets the insurer know the following information:
- Your name
- The name of the defendant
- The policy number of the defendant if you have it
- The claim number the insurer gave you
- The date of the accident
In this section, you want to specify that you’ve given the insurer 30 days to settle the above referenced claim. You should also state that once the 30 days are over and they haven’t settled your claim, the offer will be revoked and you will file a car accident lawsuit against them.
Include a description of your car accident. Keep the description as brief as possible. For instance, you can state when the accident happened and where it happened. Then proceed by stating the particulars of your claim as follows:
1. The claimant
This is where you provide useful information about yourself before the accident. Start by providing your name, age and gender. Then include information about where you were working before the accident and any pre-existing conditions or if you have ever suffered an injury before. Please note that even if you decide not to include this information, the insurer will still find out so it’s better to include it in your demand letter.
If you have any pre-existing injuries, you can distinguish them from the injuries you suffered in the injury. You can do this by either explaining that you have fully recovered from your previous injuries or that they are unrelated to the injuries from your accident.
If you have children, you are married or you are involved in any type of charity work, you should also include it in this section of your demand letter. Also, if were involved in any type of sport before the accident, you should mention it.
2. Describe the Accident
This part should only include facts about your accident. Don’t include irrelevant details such as where you were going. All you need to say is how the accident happened, where it happened and when it happened.
This should just be a brief statement about why the defendant should be held liable for the accident. You should never hold yourself liable for the accident even if you were. While you might think that you did something to facilitate the accident or you could have done something to prevent the accident, chances are the defendant was also partially responsible for causing the accident. Besides, admitting that you are liable for the accident might cause the insurer to deny your claim.
4. Medical Treatment Received and Injuries Suffered
State which parts of your body was injured. It’s very crucial that you attach medical records to prove that your injuries are real. If any of your injuries are permanent, be sure to also state this as well as any prescribed medicine you are taking.
If your doctor has recommended future care such as physiotherapy or the need to continue taking medication, be sure to include this information.
5. Economic Damages
These are mainly both present and future medical expenses and lost wages. For medical expenses, you should indicate how much you used to pay your medical bills. You can get this information from your health insurer or from your medical billing documentation. In addition, costs of your anticipated future medical care should be included.
If you lost your job or you’ve had to take time off from work because of your injuries, you should include the total loss of your wages. If you have to take a less physically demanding job where you earned less than you used to in your previous work, you should indicate the difference in your pay.
6. Non-Economic Damages
These include pain and suffering and emotional distress. For pain and suffering, you should state how much pain you are in and if you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.
If your injuries limit you from engaging in activities that you were able to engage in prior to the accident, you have to make sure you indicate this in your letter. If your injuries have made you depressed, you should include this information.
7. Demand for Settlement
This section is where you state how much you expect for both economic and non-economic damages. You should state a dollar amount that is far higher than what you expect to receive as your final settlement. Insurance adjusters know that the initial offers are always high and they expect to negotiate with you to reduce them.
Once you’ve finished drafting the letter, ask someone to proofread it for you then send it along with copies of all supporting documentation to the insurer.
When to Hire a Lawyer
If after negotiating with the insurer and you can’t seem to come to an agreement, you may need to talk to a Providence car accident lawyer before the offer becomes too low. At Kevin P Landry, we can fight for your rights to ensure that you get the justice that you deserve. If you feel you need help with your car accident case, you can visit one of our Providence offices or call us at 401-751-0101 for a free initial consultation.