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How a Proper Demand Letter Can Make an Insurance Adjuster More Likely to Settle Your Personal Injury Case

With limited exceptions, personal injury claims in California—from car crashes to slip and fall accidents—are handled by insurance companies. Dealing with an insurance company in the aftermath of suffering a bad injury claim can be challenging. A demand letter is a tool that you can use to get progress in your claim. Within this blog post, our Stockton personal injury lawyer explains who a proper demand letter can help you move forward with a case towards a settlement. 

What is a Personal Injury Demand Letter?

A personal injury demand letter is a written document—generally drafted by an attorney—that is sent from the victim to the insurance company after an accident. The letter outlines the specifics of the incident, the liability of the potential defendant, the extent of the injuries, and the total costs incurred, including medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. To be clear, a demand letter is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit. Instead, it serves as a starting point for negotiations. 

The Goal of a Demand Letter: Move the Settlement Process Forward

The primary goal of a demand letter in personal injury cases is to move the settlement process forward. As a general rule, this happens because the claimant (injured victim) is able to present their case in a clear, comprehensive, and compelling manner. By outlining a strong and well documented claim, a demand letter puts on the onus on the insurance company to respond. In some cases, an insurance company may even respond by paying the full settlement demand. Though, with more serious accidents, a demand letter will usually serve to open up real negotiations. 

First-Level Insurance Adjuster Often has Limited Settlement Authority

An insurance adjuster is a professional employed by an insurance company to assess and manage the settlement of claims. A key part of their role is generally to determine the extent of the insurer’s liability. The first-level insurance adjuster assigned to a claim typically has limited authority to settle claims. Most often, that settlement authority is restricted by a predetermined cap. In other words, the insurance adjuster who is the initial point of contact for your claim, might not have the power to approve settlements beyond a certain threshold. Indeed, it is likely that once a case reaches a certain proposed settlement value, that insurance adjuster will be required to get one of their supervisors to approve it. 

Demand Letter Can Prove Strength of Your Case to Insurance Company

Here is how a demand letter can help. A well-crafted demand letter provides the adjuster with a comprehensive and well-supported documentation of the claim, detailing the injuries, associated costs, and justification for the requested settlement amount. It is documentation that can be instrumental for the adjuster when they need to justify to their superiors the necessity of increasing their settlement authority or when arguing for a higher settlement payout. A persuasive demand letter not only advances the claimant’s position, it can give an insurance adjuster the justification that they need to seek a better settlement from their superiors. 

A Stockton Personal Injury Lawyer Can Craft a Compelling Demand Letter

To get the results that you are looking for, a demand letter must be properly written. It is a very important document as it sets much of the foundation for the claims process after a serious accident. For that reason, a demand letter should always be drafted by an attorney. Here are some key things that your attorney will likely include in a personal injury demand letter: 

  • The Undisputed Facts of the Case: One of the first sections of a personal injury demand letter lays a factual foundation by detailing the sequence of events that led to the injury. Along with other things, this usually includes date, time, location, and a description of the incident—all mentioned without ambiguity. A straightforward recounting aims to establish a clear scenario that is difficult for the opposing party to dispute.
  • A Compelling Explanation of Liability: Most personal injury claims in California are based on negligence. As described within the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, negligence is the failure to take due care. A demand letter should make it clear that the insurance company’s policyholder bears fault. By linking the actions or inactions of the defendant directly to your injuries, your Stockton personal injury attorney can construct a strong argument for liability.
  • An Account of Your Damage: Another important aspect of a personal injury demand letter is clarifying your damages. Along with other things, your attorney will likely include a detailed list of medical expenses, both current and anticipated, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and any other economic or non-economic losses related to the injury. Supporting documentation—such as medical bills—may be useful. 
  • The Next Steps (Deadline to Respond/Intent to File Lawsuit): Finally, the conclusion of a personal injury demand letter should outline the expected next steps. Your Stockton personal injury lawyer will specify a reasonable deadline by which the insurance company must respond. The deadline is often strategically set to allow sufficient time for review but also to maintain momentum in the settlement negotiations. Beyond that, the letter explicitly states that failure to meet this deadline or an unsatisfactory response will lead to further legal action—more specifically, your intent to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

Contact Our Stockton Personal Injury Attorney for Immediate Help

At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton personal injury lawyers are committed to fighting for big-time results for victims and families. If you have any questions about how a demand letter can move your case forward, we can help. Contact us right away to set up a no fee, no obligation initial appointment. From our Stockton office, we represent victims and families all across the region, including in Sacramento, Lodi, Manteca, Sutter Creek, and Galt.