Accidents happen every day. According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), more than two million people seek emergency medical attention for accidental injuries in the state each year. A serious accident can cause a major disruption to your life. You could be stuck dealing with piles of medical bills, lost paychecks, immense pain and suffering, and other damages.
If another party was at-fault for your accident, you can seek financial compensation through a personal injury claim. In most cases, the personal injury claims process is initiated with a demand letter. In this blog post, our Stockton personal injury attorneys discuss the basics of demand letters and explain what should be included in one in a personal injury case.
PERSONAL INJURY DEMAND LETTERS: KNOW THE BASICS
After a serious accident in Stockton, California, you can pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party. That being said, you do not necessarily need to file a personal injury lawsuit—at least not in the initial stages of the claims process. A demand letter is a formal letter sent by an injured victim to the party (and insurance company) that is responsible for the accident.
A personal injury demand letter should explain that an accident occurred, state that the recipient is liable, and make a clear and specific request for relief (compensation). In other words, a personal injury demand letter serves a dual role: It notifies the at-fault party and requests compensation to resolve the matter outside of court.
HOW TO WRITE A PROPER PERSONAL INJURY DEMAND LETTER IN CALIFORNIA
When drafted properly, a demand letter can help to get results in your personal injury case. On the other hand, a sloppy or poorly-written personal injury demand letter could make it more difficult for you to get compensation. Here are some key things to consider when writing a personal injury demand letter:
- Provide a Clear Account of the Accident/Injury: To start, a personal injury demand letter should inform the recipient of what happened. A demand letter will not be taken seriously unless there is a clear, well-articulated account of the accident.
- Explain Why the Recipient is Liable: One of the key purposes of a demand letter is to explain to the potential defendant/insurance company their liability. Unless the recipient is convinced of their legal liability, they are not going to agree to prove compensation.
- Detail Damages and Request Compensation: A personal injury demand letter should include a full account of your damages and an unequivocal request (demand) for financial compensation to settle the case. Make sure you know how much your California personal injury claim is worth.
- Avoid Threatening or Overly Combative Language: It is a mistake to include threatening or overly hostile language in your personal injury demand letter. A demand letter should always be professional.
- Make Sure an Attorney Drafts the Letter: The sooner you get a legal advocate on your side, the better off you will be. A demand letter should always be drafted by an experienced Stockton personal injury lawyer. An attorney will make sure that the demand letter is done properly.
A DEMAND LETTER MAY LEAD TO GENUINE SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS
If you were involved in a relatively minor accident, a demand letter may be enough to get your claim paid. However, after a serious accident, the response to a demand letter is rarely a check for the full amount requested. Instead, a well-formulated demand letter can lead to real, productive settlement negotiations. Ultimately, most personal injury claims in California are resolved via a settlement.
Still, engaging in settlement talks after sending a demand letter does not foreclose any of your other legal options. If the defendant or insurance company refuses to cooperate, a Stockton personal injury lawyer will take action to hold them accountable. You retain the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue the full and fair financial compensation that you rightfully deserve.
CONTACT OUR STOCKTON PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS TODAY
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton personal injury attorneys are standing by, ready to advocate for your rights. We handle the full spectrum of personal injury cases in California. If you have questions about personal injury demand letters, our firm is available to help. Call us at our Stockton law office at 209-267-4589 or contact us online for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation. We provide personal injury representation throughout San Joaquin County, including in Manteca, Lodi, Tracy, Lathrop, Ripon, and Escalon.