Getting seriously injured can be a life-altering event. Activities you used to do all the time might now be painful or impossible. Your mobility might be impacted, limiting where you can go and what you can do. And you might find yourself unable to work, losing out on both income and peace of mind.
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A demand letter is one of the first steps in gaining redress for an injury caused by a third party. Unfortunately, we see people trying to craft and deliver these on their own, which often leads to them getting less than they deserve—or getting nothing, even when they have a compelling case. So, how can you avoid that outcome with your demand letter?
What Does a Successful Demand Letter Require?
Writing a successful demand letter when you’re injured and in pain can be challenging. There are a few things that a demand letter needs to be successful, but perhaps most important is to keep a neutral tone. Failure to do so may result in poor outcomes should the case proceed to a trial.
Information About the Incident
In a demand letter, it’s important to include the full name and address of the recipient and the party sending the letter. It’s also essential to clearly outline the incident and the date and time where it occurred.
The claim is where you outline the remedy you expect due to the incident. Most often, in injury cases, this is monetary compensation. People often struggle with determining how much they should ask for in the demand letter. Most people either wildly overestimate how much they should receive or in some cases, underestimate how much they’re owed. That number is based on the individual case and legal precedent and can be difficult to calculate on your own.
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Next, you should include evidence that supports your case. This may be a copy of a police report about the accident or photos or videos of the incident.
You should also clearly outline the expected resolution—what the other party needs to do to address your claim satisfactorily.
Finally, you should include a deadline for a response. You should also state that you plan to pursue legal action if you don’t receive a response by the deadline.
What Happens When You Get a Response?
Once you’ve sent a demand letter, there’s a good chance you will get a response. However, the response may not be what you’re expecting. Sometimes, the other party will agree to your demands. In that case, you have to produce a legally binding contract that details the agreements between you and them and make sure that it’s something they can agree to. Or, they may produce a contract, so you have to be careful not to sign something away accidentally.
The response can also be negative. They may refuse to accept your demands or make a counteroffer that you can’t accept. The next step in those situations is legal action. Whether the response is positive or negative, you’ll probably want a lawyer on hand for this step to ensure that everything you do and any contracts you sign are legally square.
What Happens When You Don’t Get a Response?
Sometimes, you don’t get a response to a demand letter. This is not a great move by the other party, but when it happens, it can be tricky to determine what the next steps should be. Most of the time, the next step will be to escalate to a lawsuit, but the specifics vary based on the situation. Making the wrong move here can damage your case, so again, if you want the best odds of success, it’s important to engage a lawyer at or before this happens.
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Other Reasons You Should Reach out to a Lawyer for Your Demand Letter
The process alone can sometimes be confusing, but beyond the process itself, there are other reasons that you should consider hiring an attorney for your demand letter.
Law Firm’s Name on the Letterhead
While it may sound like a small thing at first, having a law firm’s name on the letterhead can transform how the other party responds to your demand letter. If you send it on your own, the reality is that they may not take it super seriously. They may respond, but they may slow roll the process, and they may try to take advantage of you, especially if they get the sense that your legal knowledge is low.
A law firm representing you from the demand letter onwards increases the odds that they’ll take your claim seriously and puts a structure in place to help things run more smoothly. Not only will your attorney help you better know what to expect throughout the process, but they will also know what to do to help motivate the other party to move quickly so that your issue can be resolved without undue delay.
Focus on Healing
If you have to write a demand letter for a personal injury, you may be in a situation where you have several significant issues to deal with. You may be in pain, seeing doctors frequently, or out of work or dealing with an ever-growing pile of bills. When all that is happening, crafting the perfect demand letter and then managing the process can be too much. With an attorney engaged in the process, you can focus on your healing and have the peace of mind that your legal matters are being handled without having to do all the work yourself.
How Kane Helps with Demand Letters
At Kane Personal Injury, we specialize in personal injury law. We’ve prepared hundreds of demand letters and have helped our clients receive the maximum compensation for their injuries. We offer 100 percent free consultations to talk through your case and your options. Contact us today to learn about what Kane can do for you.