The Letter of Demand is one of the first important legal documents in gaining compensation if you are hit by a careless automobile driver. In our previous blog we interrupted our current topic of personal injury claims, to bring you breaking news. Here at Derek Metts Legal, we are committed to following up on any breaking legal stories as well as classic information about the law.
So if you missed the latest big personal injury news from a Florida Supreme Court ruling, please take a look at our previous Metts Legal Blog article. The ruling might be very important to you if you are ever involved in a car accident, a slip-and-fall case or any manner of personal injury situation.
We return to our unique case-study story of Lauren and the Law, a car accident personal injury case. To illustrate a few legal points in a personal injury adjustment case, we have been telling Lauren’s car accident story.
Letter of Demand: A Giant First Step
When a person has been involved in a car accident, through no fault of your own, you must prepare is a document called the Letter of Demand.
Metts Legal highly recommends you to have a lawyer to help you draft this very specific legal letter. Thus we rejoin our story. The pain in Lauren’s leg was agonizing, but within a few days of the accident, she was coping with a walker and listening to praise from her nurses.
In the Aftermath of the Accident: Thinking About Compensation
Life became an endless series of treatments, medicine, therapy and hazy pain. She also fought against anxiety and worried she would never be able to do return to her career as a realtor.
Even before she went home from the hospital after the car accident, her lawyer told her about the Letter of Demand.
It does not begin with a letter. It begins with a collection of papers and documentation. Lauren’s lawyer told her to collect all possible data relating to the accident.
Eye witness “bossy” Bessie brought her the notes she had made at the scene of the accident.
Her husband also delivered a fat, blank notebook, in which to write daily notes. She needed to focus on what she could remember happening before, during and after the accident.
Likewise, her husband helped collect every financial statement sent by the hospital and other treatment centers. Meanwhile her boss at the Real Estate Company authenticated salary information about the daily work she could no longer do—at least not for a while.
Statements, records and notes not only help a person write their Letter of Demand, but also can be copied and attached to the Letter. Then the insurance company has a total package of facts upon which to judge a victim’s compensation.
Time to Make Your Demand:
Usually by the 3rd or 4th month of an accident victim’s recovery, doctors are willing to estimate how much more therapy, procedures or re-checks you might need. They can also calculate how much better you are going to get, considering your injuries. This advice will be extremely helpful when you need to put a dollar amount on your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
This article will give you a grocery list of contents you must include in the Letter of Demand. Therefore, before you begin it, get organized. Yes, you will assemble stacks of information, not the least of which will be all your medical bills:
Letter of Demand: Your General Goals
Before we detail the list, let us mention that you should mentally prepare for writing a Letter of Demand that establishes the following three goals :
1. You will tell an organized story of what happened in the incident. From her third day in the a hospital, Lauren began rounding up supportive evidence for the story of the accident.
Find facts in the police reports, eye witness notes at the scene of the accident, photos from bystanders, and your doctor’s records and invoices.
2. Be prepared to submit a careful list of your injuries. Your doctor and medical bills will be very helpful in this pursuit.
3. Be ready to designate an amount for which you will be willing to settle. This is very important because it actually should not change over the course of your negotiations.
How To Tell Your Story: The Demand Letter Primer!
1. “F” is for the Facts of the Incident: Although you realize the insurance company knows the basic information about your accident already, you must restate the facts of the matter in your letter of demand.
No emotional drama, flowery descriptions or exaggeration is necessary. The facts should speak for themselves.
2. “S” is for the “Statement on the Other Party’s Fault”
In Lauren’s case, this was simple because the truck driver who hit her was given a ticket for running the red light and reckless driving. She fulfilled this “Letter of Demand” requirement by writing about the fault of the other driver. She explained in detail how her injuries were caused by the accident.
3. “M” is for the Your Medical Expenses
To fulfill this requirement, have nice list including itemizing where it was done, who did it, how much it cost.
4. “W” is for your Lost Wages
Create a statement of the time and the money that you lost due to the accident. Your employer should help with this.
5. “D” is for Damages Other Than Medical
This category of information should cover damages other than medical bills. For example, this is where a victim lists pain and suffering.
6. “$” is for the Total Amount of Damages.
For Lauren, we know nothing will be “the same” as it was before the accident. However, as we have said previously, money is the best compensation a victim you can receive for the damages. For more information, we suggest you refer back to our article on types of compensation. Your lawyer will help you calculate this total, and phrase your demand for that amount, in full.
7. “D” is for Documents.
At the end of the letter, Lauren’s lawyer told her, attach all kinds of documents that support the Demand of the letter. Attach police reports, medical bills, employer statements, charts and graphs. Notes from the crime scene and your therapists as well as doctors–and more–can be included in this Letter of Demand.
Although it is called a Letter in legal language, you can see that this “homework” for your claim for compensation is actually more like a report. This is not like some of your junior high fantasy homework assignments. However, spelling, grammar, clean typing, professional wording, well-crafted paragraphs, and polished pages, all “count” in the impression a victim makes on the faulty driver’s insurance company.
Once again, Metts Legal thanks you for reading our blog. We hope you will return to see the latest news and information–and eventually learn what happens in our case-study with Lauren.