You’ve been hurt in a car crash. You seek medical attention and report the accident to the insurance company. After a while, you’re ready to negotiate a settlement of the claim. It’s time to write a demand letter. But where do you start?
What is a demand letter? How can you write a demand letter that’s effective? Our Kansas City car accident lawyers explain demand letters.
What is a car accident demand letter?
A car accident demand letter is a written statement asking for monetary compensation. The victim sends it to the party that they believe is legally responsible, usually an insurance company. The letter states what the victim wants to receive in damages and why.
The demand letter invites the other party to make a settlement offer. The letter itself is not a formal settlement offer, but it starts the conversation.
What should I expect after a demand letter?
After you send a demand letter, a few things can happen:
The insurance company sends an offer of compensation along with a document for you to sign that releases all claims. Usually, the insurance company negotiates a little bit, so this kind of response is unusual.
If the insurance company doesn’t accept your offer, they may respond by making their own offer. Be sure to read it carefully so that you understand what it means. You may accept it, or you may respond with another counter-offer of your own.
The insurance company may deny the claim completely. They may respond to the demand letter with a letter stating their denial, or you may not hear back from them at all. Be sure to note the date when you send the letter to keep track of how long it has been. You have a limited amount of time to file a formal legal claim whether or not you receive a reply. If the insurance company responds with a denial, be sure to read it carefully. They may give a reason for the denial which may be something to address.
When will the insurance company reply to a demand letter in Missouri?
Missouri law § 375.1007 requires an insurer to acknowledge communications with respect to claims under its policies with “reasonable promptness.” Missouri Code of Regs. 20 § 100-1.050 creates additional time frames for insurance companies to respond to claims. However, if they do not respond, know that you have only a limited amount of time to file a legal claim. Beware of deadlines and be ready to file your claim.
How can an attorney help me write an effective demand letter?
It can be tricky to know what to write in your demand letter. It should state the facts and that you believe there is legal liability. You must also describe your injuries and the damages that you expect to receive.
A demand letter needs to be clear and succinct – the person reading it should be able to follow it and understand why you’re claiming compensation. Damages should be itemized in sufficient detail as opposed to just listing a lump sum. At the same time, you don’t want to give too many details away or include things that aren’t important.
An experienced attorney can help you strike the right balance. They know what types of compensation you can claim and how to value your damages correctly. They can explain this information effectively in a demand letter.
Attorneys for Help Writing a Demand Letter
An effective demand letter is one tool that may help you reach a fair resolution to your car accident claim. Our attorneys have experience writing demand letters. We can assist you in writing your letter, knowing what to include and what to leave out for now.
When you work with us, we handle all the negotiations with the insurance company. We can negotiate counter-offers, and we build the evidence thoroughly to support your position. Our team pursues your case to the full extent of the law whether it is drafting your demand letter, negotiating your case or taking your claim to formal proceedings.
If you want to learn more about demand letters and your car accident claim, contact the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm to talk about your case. Time limits apply, so call today.