How Long Does a Settlement Take After a Demand Letter?

May 11th, 2020

When injured victims come to us for help after accidents, they have usually two questions on their minds: how much money are they owed, and how soon can they get it? We get it; medical bills wait for no man, and they’re often more than anyone can reasonably afford.  

The answers to both of those questions depend on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, the impact the injuries have on the victim’s ability to work, and the insurance companies’ level of cooperation or pushback against our demands.

When we build claims for our clients, our primary goal is ensuring that they get fair compensation for what they’ve been through. That means collecting plenty of evidence, calculating how much money they’re owed based on their current and estimated future accident-related expenses, and telling the insurance company to pay up. The last part involves writing and sending a demand letter, which is a document that outlines exactly how much money our client deserves for everything they’ve experienced.

Once a demand letter is in the insurance company’s hands, the ball is in their court to either pay up or face trial. This can be a frustrating time for clients, especially when they’ve waited for weeks or months to get the money they’re owed. Every claim is different, and every insurance company’s response to demand letters is different, but estimating how long it will take to get a settlement after this important step depends on a few factors.

What’s in a Demand Letter?

First, it’s important to explain what’s in a demand letter. Although insurance companies are reluctant to pay settlements to injured victims, they’re even more reluctant to go to trial. Demand letters written by attorneys on behalf of their clients get insurance companies a chance to review the facts and evidence that has been compiled and avoid a trial by cutting a check right then and there. At Dudley DeBosier, it’s our goal to ensure all demand letters are as convincing as possible by including information such as:

  • The cause of our clients’ injuries
  • The impact their injuries have had on their lives
  • The medical treatments they’ve needed and the costs of those treatments
  • Evidence that pinpoints who is liable for their injuries and why they should be held accountable
  • The total amount of income that our clients have lost as a result of their injuries
  • The total amount of money that our clients need to be fairly compensated

Included in each demand letter will be a monetary amount that is determined by our lawyers and client. In some cases, insurance companies will immediately agree to pay this amount. But in most cases, they will negotiate the settlement until a fair amount is agreed upon by all parties, including our clients, our attorneys, and the insurance company.

Factors that Affect Demand Letter Response Time

There are four primary factors that can affect how long it will take for you to get your check after we send our demand letter to the insurance company, and they include:

  1. The insurance adjuster’s workload—Insurance adjusters are individuals who work for insurance companies and who are tasked with managing claims from policyholders or from people who were harmed by policyholders. When adjusters are working through many claims at the same time, their responses may be delayed.
  2. The amount of evidence and documentation in the demand letter—If the insurance company believes the demand letter is lacking in information or evidence, it may request additional information. That can delay the time it takes for them to agree to pay. Our lawyers work hard to ensure that our demand letters are airtight to avoid this delay.
  3. The amount of money requested in the demand letter—Although it’s our goal to ensure our clients get paid fairly, we also want them to get paid on time. For that reason, we work hard to determine settlement amounts that are fair and reasonable, while also ensuring that they’re sufficient to cover our clients’ injury-related expenses both now and in the future.
  4. The number of potentially liable parties—When multiple parties may be considered liable for an accident or injury, insurance companies may be less likely to act right away. That’s because they may try to shift or assign more blame to other parties, while minimizing the blame on their policyholders.

It’s important to note that getting paid immediately isn’t always in your best interests. For example, insurance companies are known for offering “lowball” settlements immediately after accidents to make it impossible for victims to pursue additional compensation in the weeks or months to come.

They may do the same even after receiving demand letters by negotiating significantly reduced settlements. Some law firms will accept these offers to minimize their workloads, but we fight to ensure our victims get paid fairly. This is because once you accept a settlement, you likely will not be able to get any more money, even if it becomes clear later that the amount you received wasn’t enough for all your accident-related bills.

Dudley DeBosier Has Your Back from Day One to Pay Day

The Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier know that time is of the essence when it comes to personal injury claims. Mounting expenses and no income are a bad combination, but it’s even worse to accept a settlement that barely covers the expenses you’re facing today—let alone the ones that will continue building months or years down the road.

When you contact us, we’ll do everything in our power to ensure that you get your life back to normal—and that means getting you paid in full and on time. We don’t let insurance companies get away with delaying payments indefinitely or paying our clients less than what they deserve. Call today and see how we’ll take care of you and your loved ones. That’s the Dudley DeBosier Difference.