How To Write a Settlement Demand Letter
David Muñoz | January 12, 2024 | Personal Injury
A settlement demand letter is an offer to resolve a personal injury claim. Generally, an El Paso personal injury lawyer prepares the demand letter and sends it to the liability insurance company for the at-fault party. The demand letter often begins settlement negotiations to resolve the personal injury case.
What Is Included in a Settlement Demand Letter for a Personal Injury Case in Texas?
Settlement demand letters are customized for each individual case. You can find online samples of demand letters, but they might not contain the information you need to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
When an attorney prepares a demand letter for a client, the letter contains sections that discuss the following issues:
- The parties to the case, including their roles in the case and their insurance providers.
- A discussion of the facts of the case, including how the accident or injury occurred.
- An analysis of the evidence proving that the other party is legally liable for the victim’s damages, including statutes and case law related to the grounds for liability.
- An explanation of the victim’s injuries and the extent of the injuries, including a physician’s diagnosis of permanent impairments or disabling conditions.
- An accounting of the damages the victim incurred, including financial losses (economic damages) and pain and suffering (non-economic damages).
- An amount the victim is willing to accept to resolve the personal injury case and release the parties from further liability for the claim.
An attorney includes supporting documentation with the settlement demand letter. The supporting documents may include evidence of injuries and damages, such as medical records, employment records, and expert opinions. The attorney may include copies of statutes or case law cited in the legal analysis.
The settlement demand letter is drafted with the specific intent of convincing the insurance company that it is better to settle than to take the case to court. Attorneys have a strategy when drafting the settlement demand letter, including how much to ask for so there is room to negotiate a fair and acceptable settlement for the client.
What Happens After the Insurance Company Receives a Settlement Demand Letter for an El Paso Personal Injury Case?
The insurance company reviews the information in the demand letter against their internal investigation of the claim. It could take several days or longer for the insurance company to decide how to respond to the letter.
Potential responses to a settlement demand letter include:
- The company accepts liability for the claim and agrees to pay the amount demanded in the letter.
- The company declines the settlement offer, but it makes a counteroffer for a lower amount.
- The company declines the settlement offer and disputes whether the company is liable for the claim.
When an insurance company declines a settlement demand without making a counteroffer, the only legal option may be to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit is filed against the party who caused the injury. Generally, the insurance company hires an attorney to defend the lawsuit.
In many cases, the insurance company makes a counteroffer for a lower amount. An experienced El Paso personal injury lawyer is prepared for this maneuver. Typically, the attorney asks for more than the client is willing to accept to leave room for negotiations.
Depending on the counteroffer, the client may agree to settle the case. However, the attorney may issue a counteroffer for an amount between the two amounts. Back-and-forth negotiations could go on for a few weeks.
Seven Tips for Writing Settlement Demand Letters for an El Paso Personal Injury Claim
If you draft a settlement demand letter without a lawyer, things you should keep in mind include:
- Demand letters must include all relevant information to make your case, including critical details about the claim. However, the letter must be concise. The case often dictates the length of the demand letter.
- Include a specific date that you want a response, such as 30 days after the insurance company receives the letter.
- Highlight the facts supporting your demand for a specific amount, such as details about your injuries and losses.
- Confirm receipt of the settlement demand letter by the insurance company. You may want to send the package with a return receipt requested.
- Always demand the full amount of the available insurance coverage that applies to your claim. You can expect the company to make a counteroffer.
- You do not have to accept a counteroffer from the insurance company. If you accept a settlement offer and sign a release, you cannot demand more money even if you realize your case was worth more than you negotiated for settlement.
- You can hire an El Paso personal injury lawyer at any point to handle the settlement negotiations.
If you are unsure what your case is worth or how to value damages, speaking with an attorney may be in your best interest. Personal injury lawyers in El Paso provide free consultations. You can get legal advice and then decide how you want to proceed.
Contact the El Paso Personal Injury Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information
Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108
We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.