A demand letter is a key part of the damages claim you may file with the insurer after a car crash in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This is an initial piece of formal communication from your side in which you present your demand, or the amount of damages you want. This makes it the opening move of the negotiations between you and the insurer. And this is why it is best to draft one with the help of a car accident lawyer.
When you make this move from a position of strength, you have better odds of steering the negotiations towards your interests. If you draft a poor letter, the insurer is quick to see through it and can exploit it to negotiate a poorer deal for you. This is why understanding how to draft an effective demand letter is critically important.
When to Draft a Demand Letter?
A demand letter should be drafted when you have a fair estimate of the amount of damages you should seek. For most crash injury victims, this is when they no longer need a physician’s care. If you think that you have fully recovered or reached the point of maximum recovery, it is time to draft the demand letter.
Gathering the Relevant Materials
Before you can draft the demand letter, you need to gather the relevant materials and have them in place. This is because you will need to consult them in the process of writing the letter. Pertinent materials you will need for the letter include police reports, witness statements, your medical bills and records, notes from your physician or a medical expert, and information about your total losses.
Writing the Demand Letter
Once you have all the right materials in place, it is time to start drafting the letter. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to ensure that you do it right and don’t miss anything along the way. A sample demand letter here can serve as your guide.
Your Version of Accident Facts
At the start of the letter, you must repeat in detail all the facts of the accident and your view of how the accident occurred. This essentially lets an insurer understand that if the claim goes to a trial, how you are going to narrate the incident.
When narrating your version of the crash, it is best to stick to the facts. These include the direction of the vehicles, the disposition of the drivers, the road and weather conditions, the time and date, any sudden movements of the vehicles and so on.
You will find that many of the facts you narrate will also be contained in the police report and witness statements. It is important to point these out in the letter so the insurers knows you narration is grounded in agreed-upon facts.
Detailed Account of Injuries and Treatment
When detailing your injuries, start with the scene of the accident. Share the details of pain, discomfort and other symptoms you experienced immediately after the crash. Also talk about the on-site treatments you received and the subsequent medical care you received for your injuries. Back up your narration with reports from the on-site paramedics as well as the medical records from your treating physician.
Full List of Your Losses
Now it is time to list in detail all the losses you have suffered due to the crash. These include the medical costs, lost wages, as well as other losses you incurred. For medical costs, list down all the medical bills and attach copies where possible.
For lost wages, state your income and the number of days you missed work to compute your overall losses. You can back this information up by having it verified with a note or document from your employer. In addition, be sure to mention the social and emotional losses you suffered due to the crash-related injuries. For instance, if you were bedridden during your son’s birthday or missed your best friend’s wedding due to the injuries, point to these facts in the letter.
Your Monetary Demand
Once you have covered all the bases listed above, it is time to make a specific monetary demand. Before you put forth the demand, it is best to sum up your suffering and losses caused by the crash. When making the demand, make sure it is significantly higher than what you actually wish and expect to recover. This provides you a decent space for movement and flexibility in negotiations.
Hiring a Reliable Car Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
If you have suffered losses in a Fort Lauderdale car crash and intend to send your insurer a draft letter, we can help you. Here at Englander Peebles, our lawyers can help you file a powerful demand letter that will improve your odds of receiving a fair settlement at the earliest. Call us today to discuss your case with our experienced lawyers.