What is a Demand Letter?

Personal Injury | February 2, 2021

Understanding a Demand Letter

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you may be entitled to compensation through an insurance settlement or through a jury verdict after a personal injury lawsuit has been filed. Personal injury cases can become complex, and there is likely some language that you may be unaware of as you start this journey. You may have heard the term “demand letter.” Here, our Chicago personal injury lawyers want to discuss what a demand letter is, how the letter will be used, and some of the responses injury victims could receive from the people they send the “demand” to.

A demand letter is a preliminary part of the personal injury settlement process. The letter is an attempt to resolve any dispute between the injury victim and the at-fault party (or their insurance carrier). A letter sent to the at-fault party should be clear and concise, and it should look professional. In fact, we strongly encourage any injury victim to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can help them through this process.

The following information will typically be contained in a demand letter:

  • All facts related to the incident
  • Description about how the incident occurred
  • Information about the extent of the injuries
  • Information regarding medical care, including any necessary ongoing treatment
  • Copies of medical bills and statements
  • The “demand” for a settlement amount
  • A clear date by which a response is expected by
  • Concluding statement notifying the other party that a lawsuit will be forthcoming if the demand is not met

Possible Responses to a Demand Letter

After a demand letter is sent to an insurance carrier or at-fault party, there are various responses that be returned. This includes the following:

  • The demand is accepted. Although unlikely, the best possible scenario for a response to a demand letter is that the party accepts every aspect of your demand and makes the payment in full.
  • A counter-offer is made. The party that receives a demand letter is very likely to respond with a counter-offer. This means that the other party did not agree with all of the demands or monetary amounts, but it does indicate that they are willing to pay something for the claim. A counteroffer certainly does not have to be accepted, and this should be used as a negotiating point to work towards a higher amount.
  • The demand is denied. The party that receives the demand letter could completely refuse every aspect of the demand. If this occurs, it may very well be necessary to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit.

Work With a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured and is seeking compensation from it another party, you need to work with an attorney to help you through this. Even if you do not think a lawsuit will be necessary, an attorney can help you draft a demand letter that includes all necessary aspects to get the other party’s attention. A demand letter sent from an attorney is going to have more weight than a letter sent from the injured individual. Additionally, an attorney will be able to seamlessly shift from the demand letter stage to a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.