Demand Letter Response Time in Texas
David Muñoz | December 22, 2022 | Personal Injury
A demand letter is a standard method of beginning negotiations in a personal injury case. The attorney for the injured party prepares a letter to send to the insurance company or lawyer for the other party. The demand letter includes the following:
- The facts of the case
- The legal grounds for holding the party responsible for damages
- The injuries you sustained because of the other party’s negligence or wrongdoing
- An explanation of the damages you claim
- An amount you agree to accept to settle the matter
The insurance company then accepts or rejects the settlement offer. In many cases, the other party rejects the settlement amount, but they make a counteroffer for a lower amount, and the settlement negotiations begin in earnest. An effective demand letter is crucial to set the tone of the settlement negotiations.
What Is the Demand Letter Response Time for a Texas Personal Injury Case?
Texas insurance laws provide deadlines that insurance companies must follow when processing a claim. The deadlines help move claims at a reasonable pace.
For example, insurance companies have 15 days to acknowledge your initial claim. The insurance company investigates the claim to determine whether it accepts or denies liability. The law requires the insurance company to reject or accept the claim within 15 days of receiving all necessary information and evidence.
The date when the insurance company receives all necessary information is unclear. The company can extend this deadline for many reasons. Therefore, the factors of a case often determine the response time for a demand letter.
Factors That Impact Demand Letter Response Time
- Allegations of contributory fault or failure to mitigate damages
- Disputes related to causation and fault
- Cases involving multiple parties
- The extent and type of injuries the victim sustains
- Mistakes and errors in the paperwork and documentation
- The duration of the victim’s recovery
- Whether the victim sustained a permanent impairment or disability
- The caseload at the insurance company
- Whether the victim had pre-existing conditions or prior injuries
- Bad faith insurance tactics
Typically, disputes involving fault, liability, and damages take longer to resolve. The injured party might need to file a personal injury lawsuit if the statute of limitations is about to expire without a settlement.
Your recovery period is a significant factor that impacts the timeline for your accident claim. You do not want to submit a demand letter until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement or MMI. Reaching MMI means you recovered fully from your injuries, or your doctor does not believe that further treatment will improve your condition.
Until you reach this point, you cannot be sure what your damages will be for a personal injury or accident claim. If you make a settlement demand too early in your case, you might receive much less than your damages are worth. After signing a settlement agreement, you cannot return to the parties to demand more money because you released them from further liability.
How Do I Know How Much To Ask for in a Demand Letter?
The amount you ask for depends on your damages. In a personal injury case, you can recover compensation for your pain and suffering and your monetary losses.
Examples of economic damages you might include in your demand letter are:
- The cost of medical treatment and care, including medical bills for hospitals, doctors, diagnostic tests, labs, and ambulance costs
- The amount of income you lost because of the injuries, including commissions, bonuses, overtime pay, wages, salaries, and self-employment income
- The cost of physical therapy and other forms of rehabilitation
- The out-of-pocket expenses you incurred, including travel costs, personal care, medications, and help with household chores
- Future lost wages and decreases in your future earning capacity
In addition to the financial losses, you can claim an amount for your non-economic damages. These damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disabilities and impairments
- Emotional distress
It is much more difficult to place a value on non-economic damages. There is no standard formula used to calculate pain and suffering. As a result, the insurance company always tries to undervalue damages to avoid paying large settlements.
Damages are often worth more than people realize. If you are unsure how much to demand, it is best to seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer in El Paso before agreeing to a settlement amount. Accepting a settlement without legal advice could result in receiving much less than your claim is worth.
Contact the El Paso Personal Injury Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
We also serve San Diego County and throughout California.
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108