Table of Contents
- What Is a Demand Letter?
- Preparing Your Personal Injury Demand Letter in St. Petersburg:
- Writing Your Personal Injury Demand Letter:
- Summary Tips for Writing a Personal Injury Demand Letter
- Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Petersburg or Pinellas County, FL
What Is a Demand Letter?A ‘Demand Letter’ is a formal document sent by injury victims to the insurance provider, requesting compensation for their damages. The Demand Letter is the basis for the negotiations, as it explains the key facts of the insurance claim including:
- Injury information.
- Medical treatment information.
- The costs related to medical treatment.
- Other related damages, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
- Facts about the accident.
- Evidence of why another party was at fault for the accident.
Preparing Your Personal Injury Demand Letter in St. Petersburg:Before writing your personal injury demand letter in St. Petersburg, take time to ensure you’re fully prepared. Doing this will save you from delays at a later point:
Collect EvidenceIn every insurance claim, evidence is crucial. It will be the basis of your claim and help towards convincing your insurance provider that you have a legitimate claim. Take the time to find the following evidence:
- Your medical records
- Doctors’ or specialist’s notes
- Medical bills
- Any other receipts of expenses related to your accident
- Letters from your job’s HR department that document any time off work
Collecting Accident EvidenceYou’ll also need evidence that proves the accident happened and how it happened, with:
- Police reports
- Pictures and videos of the accident and/or accident scene
- Witness statements
- CCTV footage
- Any images of your injuries from the date of the accident and onwards
- Photographs of physical evidence from the accident that you may have kept, such as damaged mobile phones, personal items or damaged car parts.
Review What HappenedNext, take some time to review what happened. Think of all the minor details, and take notes:
- What happened?
- How did you get injured?
- What pain and discomfort have you had from the moment of the accident?
- How has that pain changed?
- How have the injuries and/or the accident affected your life?
Understand the LawUnderstanding the ins and outs of personal injury law is important – one misjudged statement can easily cause your case to fall apart. When communicating with insurance companies, you’ll need to know what arguments works with them and what doesn’t. However, it’s far from easy. Personal injury law can be complicated. Most people will wisely hire a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer so they can put their trust in legal experts, rather than trying to battle the insurance company alone.
Have You Reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is when your doctor determines that your medical condition is no longer likely to improve further. It is often advised that St. Petersburg injury victims wait to reach MMI before sending their personal injury demand letter. However, be careful of Florida’s Statute of Limitations law which gives you just two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Writing Your Personal Injury Demand Letter:
Getting the Right ToneYou must have the right tone when writing a personal injury demand letter in St. Petersburg. Insurance adjusters receive countless demand letters every day. If your letter comes across as unprofessional, overly emotional or full of mistakes, then they will pick apart every flaw. Use an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer to write your letter, using the appropriate tone, language and approach. We will be firm, factual and not hold back about the impact this injury has had on your life. We will be realistic in our approach, so you are taken seriously, while still aiming for the maximum possible settlement.
Stick to The FactsFacts. Facts. Facts. Your insurance adjuster only wants to hear the facts, they don’t care about trivial details. You need to be conscious about where you were, what happened, how it happened and what happened next. There is no need to lie or exaggerate. That will only hurt your case.
Focus on the InjuriesAt the end of the day, the injuries are why you’re here. While you need to find the right balance in tone, don’t undersell just how impactful these injuries have been on your life. Again, come back to the facts and describe: the severity of the injuries, the emotional toll and the physical impact. Write about how your life has changed since the accident and how difficult it has been to adapt. Write about the treatments you’ve taken and the long-term prognosis the doctors have given you, such as: disabilities, stiffness, pains, and scarring. You’ll want to use professional medical terminology here. Such as ‘an anterior cruciate ligament injury’, rather than just ‘a knee injury’. Ensure you have the medical records and letters to back up these claims.
List Your True DamagesDamages is the term given to the types of impact that you’ve experienced as a result of your injuries. There are ‘economic’ damages and ‘non-economic’ damages. You’ll need to identify the extent of your damages and any monetary value attached to them.
Economic DamagesInclude these types of damages in your St. Petersburg personal injury demand letter to prove the financial cost you’ve suffered from the accident. This list is often extensive, but consider the following:
- Medical Expenses
- Rehabilitation Costs
- Treatment Costs
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Future Earnings
- In-Home Care Expenses
- Medical Equipment
- Transportation Expenses
Non-Economic DamagesInclude these types of damages in your St. Petersburg personal injury demand letter to prove the damages that do not have a dollar figure attached to them. These can be difficult to prove, but with the help of an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney, you can receive a significant settlement.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Loss of Consortium
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and Disfigurement
Explain Why The Other Side Was At-FaultNegligence is the other crucial part of a personal injury claim in St. Petersburg. This is all about proving the other party was the cause of the accident – and not you. To do this, you’ll need (once again) evidence. You must show that:
- The other party owed a duty of care to you
- They breached this duty of care
- The breach resulted in your injuries
Don’t Admit FaultIn St. Petersburg, there is a comparative fault law. That means your portion of the blame for an accident can be deducted from your settlement. However, you should never admit fault in your demand letter or during any communications with the insurance company. Read Related: A Lawyer’s Tips for Dealing with Insurance Adjusters After an Accident
Stating Your Settlement DemandFinally, when all the evidence supports your claims you can state the amount you’re demanding to settle. This should be a higher number than you expect to get because they’re going to always come back with a lower offer. Negotiations will then commence, so if you haven’t hired a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at this point, don’t delay further!
Summary Tips for Writing a Personal Injury Demand Letter
- Work with an experienced St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer.
- Collect as much supporting evidence as possible.
- List your damages.
- Stick to the facts!
- Be concise and stay on point.
- Remain organized.
- Never admit fault.
- Be polite and professional.