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Personal Injury Claims: A Guide to Demand Letters

Most personal injury cases are resolved outside of the courtroom. In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimates that less than three percent of all tort claims end in a trial verdict. This raises an important question: How do you get the other side to take your personal injury claim seriously? One of the best steps you can take is sending a professionally drafted demand letter. Here, our Buffalo personal injury attorney explains what a demand letter is, what needs to be included to make an effective demand, and why this type of letter matters. 

What Is a Demand Letter?

Put simply, a demand letter is a statement of your claim. It notifies the defendant/insurer that an accident occurred, that they bear liability, and that you are requesting financial compensation to resolve the matter. To be clear, a demand letter is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit. Instead, it is a formal notice to the other party that you were harmed and that you intend to pursue legal action if the matter is not resolved. 

How to Draft an Effective Demand Letter

A major mistake that some people make in the early stages of the personal injury claims process is sending a sloppy or incomplete demand letter. A demand letter should be drafted by an experienced New York injury attorney. Not only will your lawyer be able to craft an effective demand letter, but defendants and insurance companies will take your claim far more seriously when you have an attorney on your side. A demand letter should contain the following five elements: 

  1. A description of the accident and the injuries; 
  2. An explanation as to why the defendant is responsible; 
  3. An account of your damages and a claim for compensation; 
  4. A deadline for the defendant/insurer to respond; and 
  5. A clear notice that you intend to take legal action if the matter is not resolved. 

A demand letter is not a one-size-fits-all legal document. It should be customized to suit the specific circumstances of the case at hand—and it should include as much detail as is reasonably possible. A comprehensive demand letter is far more likely to produce successful results. 

How a Demand Letter Can Help to Move the Personal Injury Claims Process Forward

A demand letter is an important step in the personal injury claims process. Based on the response, you and your attorney will be able to determine the best path forward. In some cases, a demand letter can lead to immediate, fruitful settlement negotiations. In other cases, a defendant’s inadequate response may indicate that it is time to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

Contact Our New York Personal Injury Attorney Today

At Richmond Vona, LLC, our New York personal injury lawyers offer personalized, results-focused representation. If you have questions about demand letters, we are here to help. To arrange a no cost, completely confidential review of your claim, please contact us today. We represent injured victims throughout Western New York, including in Olcott, Newfane, Lyndonville, Lockport, and East Aurora. 

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