When you've been injured and you want a settlement from the party that you believe contributed to your injury, one of the big steps forward that you'll take is to submit a demand letter through your personal injury lawyer. The other party then has the ability to review the letter and decide how it will proceed. Often, you'll receive a settlement counteroffer that you can evaluate and discuss with your attorney. It's important to take a methodical approach to your demand letter, given its significance in this process. Here are some things that the letter shouldn't include.
Accept Some Blame
In many injuries, two parties are at fault to varying degrees. While you believe that the other party's negligence may have been the driving factor behind the injury, you may also admit to your attorney that you contributed in some small way. This may be true, but your demand letter isn't the place to discuss this subject matter. Should you go to court, the other party's attorneys will likely be quick to investigate the role that you may have played. There's little merit in owning up to it in writing beforehand.
Provide Financial Points Without Backup
You might feel as though a significant settlement is warranted in your case, but your demand letter isn't the right place to pursue a financial figure that you can't support. In this letter, you should list your medical expenses, lost wages, and other measurable costs that you've incurred because of the injury, as well as have some information on what your pain and suffering are worth. For the latter, your personal injury attorney will give you a fair estimate. It's a mistake to demand a high settlement without properly backing this number up.
Make It Personal
Your demand letter is a legal document, not an email that you might send the other party because you feel frustrated. As such, it's important for the letter to be professional rather than personal. This isn't the venue for you to make verbal attacks against the other party. Instead, you should meticulously outline the circumstances of your injury, including your belief of how the other party's negligence played a role. Keeping the demand letter professional will help in the long run by avoiding the mudslinging that can often be present in personal injury cases. Work together with your personal injury attorney to produce a demand letter that will help your case.