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What is a Demand Letter and Why is it an Important Tool in a Personal Injury Case?

Hurt in an accident in Georgia? You have the right to pursue compensation for both economic losses and intangible damages through a personal injury claim. You may be able to recover from medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, unfortunately, negligent defendants and their insurance carriers can make the claims process challenging for people.

A demand letter is a legal tool that can help to get results in a personal injury claim. In this article, our Georgia personal injury lawyers highlight the most important things to know about demand letters. 

What is a Personal Injury Demand Letter?

A personal injury demand letter is a document sent by a person who has suffered injuries in an accident. The recipient is the defendant and/or their insurance company. A demand letter is a formal initiation of the claims process.

It details the incident, damages, and the remedy (financial compensation) being sought by the injured victim. A demand letter is a key part of a claim. 

Why a Demand Letter Can Move Your Case Forward

A demand letter is a vital tool that a lawyer can use when navigating the personal injury claims process. To be clear, it serves as far more than mere compensation. A demand letter is a strategic document that can help move a complex personal injury claim toward a successful resolution.

Here are here reasons why personal injury demand letters make a difference in Georgia: 

  1. Open-Up Serious Settlement Negotiations: In many cases, it is the demand letter that marks the transition from discussions to serious settlement negotiations. It sets the stage for back-and-forth dialogue by presenting a detailed account of the incident, the injuries sustained, and the financial compensation sought. Even if low-level negotiations have already started, it is often a demand letter that opens up serious settlement negotiations. 
  2. Demonstrate Validity of Case to Defense/Insurer: The demand letter serves a dual purpose of not only requesting compensation but also demonstrating the strength of the case. By carefully documenting the facts of the incident, the extent of injuries, and how those injuries have actually impacted your life, the letter provides a compelling narrative that the defense and insurer cannot easily ignore. 
  3. Give Insurance Adjusters Evidence They Need for Settlement Authority: Insurance adjusters play a big part in the negotiation process. They are not on your side, but they may sometimes be willing to settle your case if they are shown the right information. A demand letter provides them with the ammunition they need to justify a settlement within the company. The detailed account of your injuries gives the adjuster a concrete basis to evaluate the claim and seek the necessary settlement authority from their superiors. 

How to Write an Effective Personal Injury Demand Letter

What goes into a demand letter in a personal injury case? While the answer will vary somewhat based on the specific cause, nature, and severity of your accident, demand letters typically share the following common core elements: 

  1. Background and Facts: As a general matter, a demand letter begins with a clear, presenting chronological account of the events leading to the accident. Among other things, this may include dates, locations, and a description of what happened before, during, and after the incident. Be clear and factual and do not include unnecessary or unhelpful details.  
  2. Explanation of Liability: After laying out the facts, you should articulate why the insured party is at fault for the accident. Be sure to explain the legal basis for their liability—whether due to negligence, strict liability, or any other cause of action. A demand letter should also cite any relevant laws. The recipient of the letter should come away from it with a clear understanding that they can be liable in court. 
  3. The Demand for Compensation: A demand letter should also make a straightforward demand for financial compensation. In many cases, the best approach is to itemize your losses, specifying damages in the process. The recipient of your demand letter should understand exactly what they need to provide you—how much compensation—to resolve your claim. 
  4. Statement of Intent to Pursue Legal Action: Finally, a personal injury demand letter should also include a clear of your intent to pursue legal action if a fair settlement cannot be reached. If the recipient (defendant/insurer) does not settle the matter, you should make it very clear that you intend to file a personal injury lawsuit in a Georgia court. 

An effective personal injury demand letter is precise, detailed, and assertive. It not only presents the facts and clarifies liability but also clearly demands financial compensation. Ultimately, the goal is to move your case toward a successful resolution.

Personal Injury Tip: A demand letter should also include a timeline for a response. You do not want to miss out on any deadlines. Under Georgia law (GA Code § 9-3-33), there is a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims. Be proactive after a serious accident. 

A Personal Injury Demand Letter Should Always Be Drafted By an Attorney

Personal injury claims are complicated. Writing a demand letter that actually delivers results is not easy. There are many issues that must be addressed and there are a lot of common mistakes that must be avoided. For this reason, it is crucial that a demand letter is drafted by a top-tier Georgia personal injury attorney.

Your lawyer can bring true expertise to the table. An attorney with experience taking on personal injury claims will not only be skilled in legal drafting, but he or she will also make your demand letter more credible and persuasive. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia for a Free Case Review

At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Georgia personal injury attorneys have the professional expertise that you can trust. We help clients fight for the maximum compensation. If you or your loved one was hurt in an accident and you have any questions about a demand letter, we are here to help.

Call us now or contact us online for your free, no-obligation case review. With offices in Atlanta and Augusta, we handle personal injury claims throughout all of Georgia.