Accidental injuries happen every day. According to data collected and published by the Georgia Department of Public Health, more than 74,000 people are hospitalized or visit the emergency room for an accidental injury annually. If you or your loved one was hurt because of the negligence of another party, you can seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim.
Pursuing financial compensation for a personal injury typically does not start with the filing of a lawsuit. Instead, most personal injury claims are initiated by the sending of a legal document called a ‘demand letter’. In this article, our Georgia personal injury lawyers explain what demand letters are and how to draft one that is effective.
What Is A Personal Injury Demand Letter?
Typically drafted by an experienced personal injury attorney, a demand letter is sent to the at-fault party and their insurance company. The purpose of a demand letter is to inform the other party that an accident occurred, explain that they are liable, and clarify the action that they need to take to resolve the matter. In most personal injury claims, a demand letter is an explicit request (demand) for financial compensation.
When you send a demand letter, it is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit. In some smaller accident & injury claims, a well-drafted demand letter may be enough to get your claim paid. Though, that is generally not how it works after a serious accident. Instead, a demand letter can lead to good faith settlement negotiations with the other party.
How To Draft A Compelling Demand Letter For A Personal Injury Case
A sloppy personal injury demand letter is unlikely to produce a successful outcome. In order to get results, a demand letter must be well-written/ Although every personal injury demand should be carefully crafted to suit the specific circumstances of the case, these letters do tend to share some common characteristics. Among other things, your personal injury demand letter should include:
- A Description of the Accident: A demand letter should include a comprehensive description of the accident.After reading and reviewing a demand letter, the other party should understand exactly what happened.
- A Claim of the Potential Defendant’s Liability: The potential defendant or their insurance company will not settle a claim unless they know why they are liable for your injuries. A demand letter should always have a section focused on liability.
- A Specific Account of Your Damages: Next, a personal injury demand should make a clear and specific request for compensation. You need to let the other party know what they need to do (and pay) to settle your claim.
- Detailed Account of Medical Treatment: A concise organization of treatment broken down several different ways: by timeline, by billing, by medical provider and others. As much detail here as possible.
- A Deadline for a Response: You do not want your demand letter to go to the bottom of someone’s pile of work. Make sure that you include a reasonable deadline for a response. You give them enough time to take your claim seriously, but not too much time to allow them to drag things out.
- A Statement of Intent to Pursue Legal Action: Finally, a demand letter should also have a statement of your intent to pursue legal action—file a personal injury lawsuit—if your demand for compensation is not met.
Three Common Mistakes To Avoid
Beyond including all of the right elements, there are also some key mistakes that you need to avoid when writing a personal injury demand letter. Here are three of the most common errors that people make when drafting demand letters:
- Threatening Language: A demand letter is notice of your intent to file a lawsuit if compensation is not paid. That being said, it should not be written as a “threat.” The use of hostile or threatening language can make it more difficult to get a settlement.
- False Statements: A demand letter must be accurate. If you make false statements or material misrepresentations in your demand letter that could undermine your personal injury claim.
- Unnecessary Details: Finally, be careful about including unnecessary details. Anything you write in a demand letter could potentially be used against you. It should be clear, concise, and it must be drafted properly.
Call Our Georgia Personal Injury Attorneys For A Free Consultation
At MG Law, our Georgia personal injury lawyers are passionate, results-focused advocates for victims and their families. We can help you write a clear, concise, and compelling personal injury demand letter to help you recover the full and fair financial compensation that you deserve. Give us a call now or contact us online for a no cost, no obligation review of your case. With offices in Conyers, Covington, and Atlanta, we represent injured victims throughout the entire region, including in Porterdale, Lithonia, Decatur, Walnut Grove, Stone Mountain, Redan, and Brookhaven.