If you are pursuing compensation for your injuries from an insurance company, the demand letter is a crucial step in securing a fair settlement. A demand letter summarizes your claim and states how much money you seek for your injuries and any other harms you suffered as a result of your accident, such as property damage and lost wages. A well-written demand letter can limit how much leeway the claims adjuster has to object to the amount of your settlement demand.

How-to-Write-an-Effective-Demand-Letter

You should not send a demand letter to the insurance company until you are near the end of your medical treatment, or your doctors inform you that your condition is sufficiently stable. If you send your demand letter too early, you may not fully account for the total costs of your medical treatment. You should have as clear a picture of your medical condition and necessary treatment as possible before calculating your settlement demand.

This page contains basic information about how to write an effective demand letter to an insurance company. It is not a substitute for consulting with a personal injury lawyer. Only a licensed attorney in your area can give you legal advice about your situation.


The Elements of an Effective Demand Letter

There are several key elements of an effective demand letter. Your demand letter should include:

  • A clear statement of the facts surrounding your accident;
  • A summary of why the insured is liable for your injuries and any other losses;
  • A detailed list of any injuries you suffered and the medical expenses you incurred as a result;
  • A list of any out-of-pocket expenses (such as copayments and medications);
  • A total amount of wages you lost as a result of your inability to work (if applicable);
  • A statement describing any ongoing pain and suffering and/or emotional distress;
  • Copies of any documents you have to support your claim, such as notes from your doctors or a letter from your employer stating that you missed work; and
  • Your settlement demand amount.

Your Letter Should Include a Disclaimer

Your demand letter should begin with the phrase: “FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY.” If you later decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, this will help prevent the at-fault party from trying to introduce the letter as evidence at your trial.


Writing the Demand Letter

In all of your correspondence with the insurance company, you should be courteous and professional. Your demand letter should be free from errors and easy to understand. If your letter is especially long, you may want to include putting it in a three-ring binder and using tabs to separate each supporting document. Writing-the-Demand-LetterYou can all these “exhibits.” For example, Exhibit A could be the police report about your accident, Exhibit B could be a bill from the emergency room, and Exhibit C could be a letter from your employer confirming your inability to work.

You should include the following information in your demand letter in this order:

The Heading

  • Include your name, address, and contact information at the top of the letter.
  • Include the name of the insurance company, the name of your claims adjuster and his or her formal title, and the insurance company’s street address.
  • Date the letter with the month, day, and year you will mail the letter.
  • Write “FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY” before the body of the letter.
  • Include a “Re:” line with the claim number assigned to your claim and any other identifying information. This is very important: if you do not include the claim number here, the insurance company may not process your claim properly.

The Body of the Demand Letter

  • The introduction section of your demand letter should let the claims adjuster know that you are now ready to engage in earnest settlement negotiations.
  • The background section of your demand letter provides a factual overview of the accident and lays the foundation for proving that the insured was negligent.
  • The liability section of your demand letter clearly establishes that the insured was negligent and therefore liable for your injuries and other losses. You may reference witness statements, the police report, and traffic tickets (if applicable) in this section.
  • The injuries section of your demand letter describes your injuries in detail and the medical treatment required to treat them. You should be very explicit about the full extent of the physical pain and mental anguish you endured from the time of the accident and throughout your course of medical treatment.
  • The damages section of your demand letter lists the exact amount of compensation you expect to receive for:
    1. Any past and future medical expenses necessary to treat your injuries;
    2. Any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of your injuries;
    3. Any wages you lost due to your inability to work following the accident;
    4. Any past or future pain and suffering (emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment); and
    5. Any damage to your personal property (if applicable).

  • The conclusion thanks the claims adjuster for his or her assistance and outlines your expected time frame for a response.

If you are concerned about the legal and financial implications of sending a demand letter to an insurance company, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. An attorney may be able to help you secure adequate compensation for your injuries and other losses.


Demand Letter Example

The following letter is an example of a demand letter sent to an insurance company after an accident. It may not apply to your situation, and does not constitute legal advice.

Download The Demand Letter Template As A Word Document

Stephen A. Brown
4876 West Main Street
Denver, CO 80507

Home phone: (555) 791-4862
Cell phone: (555) 251-3699

Email: stephenabrown@mailme.com

American Motor Insurance Liability, Inc.
Rebecca Smith – Senior Claims Adjuster
Commonwealth, VA 02839

April 1, 2014

DEMAND LETTER: FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
Re: Claim Number B-1865J2,
Insured: Amy C. Jones, DOB 08/17/1976
Claimant: Stephen A. Brown, DOB 09/13/1982
Date of Accident: January 25, 2014

Dear Ms. Smith:

On January 25, 2014, I was severely injured when your insured, Amy C. Jones, failed to stop at a red traffic light and violently struck my car while I was driving through an intersection with a clearly green traffic light.

My doctors have advised me that my medical condition is now stable. Although I am still experiencing significant pain and suffering, I am ready to bring this matter to a conclusion. In order to facilitate settlement of my claim, I have compiled the following information for your review. I have also included supporting documentation, attached to this letter as Exhibits A-D.

Background

On January 25, 2014, at approximately 7:45 a.m., I was driving my 2010 Toyota Prius westbound on Mountain View Avenue in Denver, Colorado. At all times, I was paying careful attention to the road, traffic lights, and other vehicles in my line of sight. There were no severe weather conditions or other unusual road conditions present. I was wearing my seatbelt.

As I approached the intersection of Mountain View Avenue and Main Street, I could see that the traffic light was clearly green and in my favor. As I passed through the light, suddenly and without warning, your insured Amy C. Jones violently struck the front left half of my Toyota. The primary point of impact was the front left door adjacent to the driver’s seat. The severe force of the impact sent my car careening through the intersection. It only came to a stop when it struck a lamp pole at the northwest corner of the intersection. My vehicle needed repairs costing over $12,335 and was deemed a total loss. For more information about the accident, see Exhibit A (the police report) and Exhibit B (photographs of the vehicles and accident scene).

Liability of Your Insured

Your insured, Amy C. Jones, is clearly liable for my injuries and other losses. The police report (Exhibit A) and statements made by witnesses (Exhibit C) confirm that your insured failed to stop at a red light and hit my car as I was driving through the intersection on a green light. When questioned by police at the scene of the accident, your insured admitted to being distracted by a phone call at the time of the accident.

Police Officer Dominic McCarthy issued your insured a traffic citation for failing to stop at the red light. Your insured’s negligent actions were the direct and proximate cause of the accident and my resulting injuries.

As a result of the serious accident caused by Amy C. Jones, I have incurred the following injuries, expenses and losses:

Injuries

The force of the sudden impact and the severity of the accident caused me to sustain the following injuries:

  • Fractured my left elbow;
  • Tore tendons in both shoulders;
  • Lacerated my forehead and upper left arm;
  • Experienced severe whiplash at the time of impact;
  • Herniated my disk at the C-3 level; and
  • Caused deep bruising along the left side of my body.

Emergency personnel did not respond to the scene of the accident for more than 15 minutes. During that time, I was bleeding profusely from my forehead and was experiencing severe pain all over my body. When emergency personnel finally arrived to the accident scene, I was immediately transported to the emergency room at Saint Thomas Hospital in Denver.

At the hospital, I received 15 stitches on my forehead and underwent a series of examinations and tests. These tests included a magnetic resonance imaging examination (“MRI”), X-rays, a computer axial tomography scan (CAT scan), and blood tests. I was informed that I had fractured my left elbow, and doctors applied a full-arm cast to my left arm. I was also informed that I had sustained a herniated disk at the C-3 level and tore tendons in both shoulders, both of which would require ongoing chiropractic care. I was told to regularly ice the severe bruises along the left side of my body. For more information about my injuries, see Exhibit D (my medical records and associated expenses).

Since the date of the collision, I have undergone months of painful treatment and physical therapy. I have incurred significant out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications. My physicians and chiropractor instructed me not to work. As a result, I have lost several thousand dollars in income from my job as a regional manager at Barry’s Sporting Goods. I have not been cleared to return to work and do not know when I will be able to do so.

My recovery period has been long and extremely painful. It has disrupted my daily life and relationships since the date of the accident. Due to the significant pain I have experienced, I have had trouble sleeping and can no longer attend family gatherings or my son’s sporting events. My inability to earn income has strain my marriage and negatively impacted my relationship with my children.

Liability of Your Insured

Your insured, Amy C. Jones, is clearly liable for my injuries and other losses. The police report (Exhibit A) and statements made by witnesses (Exhibit C) confirm that your insured failed to stop at a red light and hit my car as I was driving through the intersection on a green light. When questioned by police at the scene of the accident, your insured admitted to being distracted by a phone call at the time of the accident.

Police Officer Dominic McCarthy issued your insured a traffic citation for failing to stop at the red light. Your insured’s negligent actions were the direct and proximate cause of the accident and my resulting injuries.

As a result of the serious accident caused by Amy C. Jones, I have incurred the following expenses and losses:

Damages


Special damages:

Ambulance ride to hospital $750.00
Emergency room treatment $4,500.00
Total non-emergency medical treatment to-date $3,875.50
Future medical treatment required $9,500.00
Chiropractic treatment $850.00
Prescription medications $425.00
Lost wages $8,750.00

TOTAL SPECIAL DAMAGES: $28,650.50



General damages:

Emotional distress $5,000
Loss of consortium $5,000
Pain and suffering $79,951.50

TOTAL GENERAL DAMAGES $89,951.50

TOTAL PERSONAL INJURY DEMAND: $108,650.50

I hereby demand $118,602.00 to account for my injuries and other losses that were directly and proximately caused by the negligence of your insured, Amy C. Jones. I expect to receive a reply to this demand letter no later than 21 days from the date of the postmark.

Thank you for your time in considering my claim. Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional information or with any questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Stephen A. Brown

ATTACHMENTS: Exhibit A, Police Report
Exhibit B, Photographs of accident scene
Exhibit C, Witness statements
Exhibit D, Medical records and receipts

Next: How to Reject a Settlement Offer and Make a Counter

Disclaimer: Information provided on this site is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always get a formal case evaluation from a licensed attorney if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.