A demand letter to an insurance company is often the first step toward initiating or litigating a case after an accident or personal injury in Nevada.
A good way to think of an insurance company demand letter is to think of it as an opening argument in a court case. Matters a well-written demand letter will highlight include:
- How the accident or incident happened,
- The plaintiff's injuries,
- The damages the plaintiff has incurred and will in the future incur; and
- Why the defendant is responsible.
Most people prefer to have an attorney write a demand letter on their behalf. An experienced lawyer is best situated to know what details to include and, just as importantly, what to omit.
To help you better understand how to write a demand letter, our Las Vegas Nevada personal injury lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. Why is a well-written demand letter important in a Nevada accident or injury case?
- 2. What is the purpose of a demand letter in a Nevada personal injury case?
- 3. What information should be included in a demand letter?
- 4. Should my demand letter ask for a specific dollar amount?
- 5. Do I need a lawyer to write a demand letter in my Nevada injury case?
You have probably heard the adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression.
The demand letter is usually the first impression an insurer will get about your case after a Nevada accident or injury. A well-written demand letter gets the adjuster's attention and tells the insurer you are serious about pursuing your right to compensation.
Taking the time to write a strong demand letter is a good investment. It is your best chance of getting compensation in a Nevada injury case without having to go to trial. And if you do end up going to trial, a well-written demand letter will protect you against statements that you later have to explain away.
Settlement negotiations with the insurance adjuster will revolve around the information set forth in the demand letter.
The purpose of a demand letter to an insurer in a Nevada injury case, therefore, is to explain to the adjuster:
- The facts of the accident or incident;
- The extent of the plaintiff's injuries; and
- Why the defendant is responsible for those injuries.
A well-written demand letter to an insurer does not need to take up pages and pages. Nevertheless, it must make a strong case for both the defendant's liability and the extent of a plaintiff's injuries.
The demand letter should, therefore, include:
- A detailed explanation of the facts of the accident or incident, including:
- Where and when the incident happened,
- The parties involved,
- How it happened, and
- The injuries the plaintiff sustained;
- Test results that make such injuries obvious, such as x-rays or MRIs;
- Photos and/or videos of the accident scene and any property damage or physical injuries sustained by the plaintiff;
- A summary of economic damages the plaintiff has incurred and is expected to incur in the future, including:
- Amounts paid to date for medical bills, tests and therapy,
- A doctor's, therapist's or expert's estimate and recommendations of future needed medical care and/or therapy,
- Car repair bills or other property damage bills or estimates,
- Lost wages to date, and
- Estimates of future lost earning capacity (with an opinion letter from an economic expert, if appropriate); and
- An explanation of the plaintiff's non-economic damages, including,
- Photos of scars,
- A doctor's explanation of post and future scarring or loss of physical function,
- Therapists' statements of treatments the plaintiff has had to endure,
- Statements of family, friends and/or co-workers about activities the plaintiff can no longer engaged in, and
- Anything else that explains the past and anticipated future pain and suffering of the plaintiff.
In most cases, a demand letter should not ask for a specific dollar amount to settle a case. It is generally more advantageous to try to get the insurer to make an offer first. Asking for a fixed number sets an upper limit for the negotiation. It can be hard to get this number increased should additional damages be discovered later.
The one time it makes sense to request a specific amount is when you are seeking the maximum amount payable under a policy of insurance and you are certain that amount is in the right ballpark.
If you do not know the policy limits, or you are unsure of how much to ask for, it is usually best to let the insurer make the first offer.
We cannot overstate the importance of the demand letter.
However, a well-written demand letter can mean the difference between a quick and generous settlement and protracted negotiations – or worse, getting entirely ignored.
An experienced Nevada personal injury attorney will know what facts and documents to include with the initial demand.
Just as importantly, your Las Vegas injury lawyer will know what not to say. Anything you say in a demand letter can be used against you later should your case go to trial.
Injured in Las Vegas? Call us for help…
Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys have a great deal of experience negotiating settlements with Nevada insurers. We can help you craft a strong demand letter and negotiate a settlement that compensations you for ALL your injuries and your pain and suffering.
And should your case need to go to trial, we have the experience to take your case to a jury.
To schedule your free consultation call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page.
Don't try writing a demand letter without talking to a competent attorney first. Contact us today to give yourself the peace of mind you need and the compensation you deserve.