Were you hurt in an accident caused by another party’s negligence? You may be left dealing with medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages. A personal injury claim provides a path to justice and compensation—but navigating the claims process can be challenging. A demand letter is an important legal tool that can advance your case. Here, our Kansas City personal injury lawyer explains how a well-written demand letter can move your legal claim forward.
What is a Demand Letter in a Personal Injury Case?
A demand letter in a personal injury case is a formal letter document that a victim or their attorney sends to the at-fault party and their insurance company after an accident. Most often, the letter will provide an overview of the victim’s injuries, their damages, and the recipient’s liability. In other words, the letter demands a specific amount of compensation for the victim’s losses. The goal of the demand letter is to facilitate settlement discussions. Those discussions may lead to resolution of a claim (i.e. settlement). They may also lead to litigation (i.e. filing suit) if the insurance company is not providing a reasonable offer in response to the demand.
A Demand Letter Should Be Drafted By an Attorney (What it Needs to Include)
A demand letter can move your personal injury claim toward a full and fair settlement—but it needs to be properly drafted. Your demand letter should be written by an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer. A poorly written demand letter could inadvertently undermine your claim. Key things that should be included in a personal injury demand letter include the following:
- Details of the Incident: The demand letter should include a detailed description of the incident that caused your injuries. This includes the date, time, location, and any other relevant details.
- Explanation of Liability: Your Kansas City personal attorney should explain why the at-fault party is liable for your injuries. Most often, there will be a clear explanation of the potential defendant’s negligence.
- An Account of Damages: You need a comprehensive account of your damages, both economic and non-economic, including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
- A Timeline for a Response: The demand letter should include a timeline for the other party to respond. The timeline should be reasonable given the specific circumstances of the case.
- Compliance with Applicable Statutes: In many instances, the demand letters must comply with applicable statutes. These statutes include claims for pre- and post-judgment interest, and they contain what must be included with the demand to provide an insurance company with a reasonable opportunity to consider the claim. For example, one Missouri statute requires that insurance companies be given 90 days (yes, 90 days!) to review the demand letter.
- Intent to Take Legal Action: Finally, there should be a clear statement of your intent to take legal action if the matter is not resolved outside of court. Far more personal injury claims are settled than go to trial. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reports that fewer than 5% of tort claims are resolved through litigation. Still, demand letters should make it clear to the defendant/insurance company that you are prepared to take legal action.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer Today
At House Law LLC, we fight aggressively to protect the rights and interests of victims and families. If you have any questions about demand letters or the claims process in general, we can help. Contact us now for a no-cost, no-obligation case review. We’re conveniently located on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City (with free parking), and we represent injured victims throughout the region in Missouri and Kansas.
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