A demand letter, as the title suggests, is a letter written to the insurance adjuster of the defendant who caused your harms prior to filing a lawsuit.
I often hear plaintiff attorneys talk about getting “low balled” in their settlement negotiations by insurance adjusters following the submission of the demand letter by the plaintiff’s attorney.
Why the settlement offers are lower than you thought? You think you did everything right and wrote a great demand letter to the insurance company, but did you?
A great demand letter begins with a great evaluation of your client and the case when they walk through the door. Absolutely everything that follows after that client signs the retainer agreement should be tightly managed and under the control of the attorney who manages that client’s file.
Your evaluation the day the client walked through the door to the time you write the demand letter to the insurance company should only be reshaped by unexpected medical treatment or new facts unknown by you or the client on the day of the intake.
When writing a demand letter knowing why the defendant(s) are liable is key and every statute or municipal code that is affected and every remedy available for the harm caused to your client. A very detailed explanation of all treatment demonstrating the client’s subjective and objective complaints, treatment, if the client followed orders and protocols, the assessment by physicians and therapists, and ongoing plans for treatment must be listed in chronological order. The more you demonstrate your own understanding of the medicine involved in your client’s claim and the better you are able to explain that to an adjuster in writing the more you will satisfy the question, “Can the attorney get this across to a jury?”
Detail every cost, back up every cost you listed with why you are entitled to it. Embed as much into that demand letter as you can, attachments are difficult and clumsy. Keeping a demand letter detailed yet simple is a gift and if done right will reap better results for your client. Print your demands in color and make sure you can show pictures of before and after and why your client will do well before a jury.
Don’t cut corners when putting together a demand letter. There may have been blood everywhere at the scene of your client’s crash or incident but don’t spill new blood and reduce the integrity of your client’s claim by being lazy with putting together the demand letter. Doing this to a client’s claim is an entirely different but equally valid bloodshed.