Originally published May 11, 2020.
When injured victims come to us for help after accidents, they usually have two questions on their minds:
- How much money am I owed?
- How soon can I get it?
We get it; when your injuries leave you unable to work, even for just a short time, your medical bills can pile up faster than you can pay them.
The answers to both of these questions depend on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, the impact the injuries have on an injury victim’s ability to work, and the insurance companies’ level of cooperation or pushback against our demands.
What is a Demand Letter?
When we build claims for our clients, our primary goal is ensuring that they get fair compensation for what they’ve been through. A demand letter is a legal document sent to the insurance company 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. 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.
What’s Included in a Demand Letter?
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
The demand letter will also “demand” financial compensation; the amount is determined between 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:
- 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.
- The amount of evidence and documentation in the demand letter—If the insurance company believes the demand letter is lacking in 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.
- 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.
- The number of potentially liable parties—When multiple parties may be considered liable for an accident or injury (for example, multiple drivers in a pileup, or a specific employee as well as their employer in a workplace accident), 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. When injured victims accept these settlements because they need the money fast, it’s impossible for them to pursue additional compensation in the weeks or months to come when that too-small settlement runs out.
Insurance companies may do the same even after receiving demand letters by trying to negotiate significantly reduced settlements. Some law firms will accept these offers to minimize their workloads, but we fight to ensure our victims get paid fairly every time.
Dudley DeBosier Has Your Back from Day One to Pay Day
The Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier have the experience and legal savvy to make sure you get the full amount you’re owed without having to wait too long to get it.
Contact us today to get the process started with a .
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