Can I Write My Own Demand Letter For My Virginia Personal Injury Claim?

A demand letter is an important document in a Virginia personal injury case. A demand letter that is well-written can have a considerable influence on the amount of financial compensation you ultimately recover.

What is the purpose of a personal injury demand letter?

There are plenty of websites that offer sample demand letters along with suggestions on how to write effectively. However, a truly strong demand letter contains a lot of information and is a job best left to an experienced personal injury lawyer.  

The Virginia personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have drafted innumerable demand letters during their 50 combined years of practicing law. We understand how to asses damages, collect strong evidence, a draft a clear, concise demand letter demanding the compensation you deserve. 

What Does a Demand Letter Do?

A demand letter requests a specific amount of financial compensation from the insurance company. It also informs them that the injured victim will file a lawsuit if their demands are not met. Essentially, a demand letter is the opening salvo in the negotiation process. 

It is extremely unlikely that an insurance company is going to simply concede to the demands made in your letter. Usually, they make a counteroffer, to which the victim’s attorney responds with another counteroffer. Both sides go back and forth like this multiple times before an agreement is reached. The majority of personal injury claims end in a settlement, but for some, a lawsuit has to be filed. 

What Information is Included in a Demand Letter?

Demand letters tend to be short and to the point. Although they vary based on the case and their author, a few of the basic elements of a demand letter are:

  • A thorough explanation about why you are entitled to compensation  
  • A date by which a settlement should be reached
  • Proof of the damages

The letter could also demand that the insurer acknowledge that your damages will exceed policy limits.

If the insurer denies that your damages exceed the limits of your policy, your lawyer might be able to file a suit to seek the excess directly from the liable party. This can be challenging, especially if the at-fault party has no assets worth pursuing.

How Much Should I Ask For in a Demand Letter?

The value of a personal injury case hinges on multiple factors that are specific to your case. Although many of your damages have a specific dollar value affixed to them, such as hospital bills and lost earnings, the value of many other damages is an estimate, such as future medical treatments, pain and suffering, and reduced earning capacity. 

It is in your best interest to let an experienced attorney handle your case because they will know how to properly calculate your damages and determine how much your case is really worth.  

How Long Will My Case Take to Settle Once the Demand Letter is Sent?

There is no specific time after sending the letter by which a case must be settled. It could a couple of weeks or even a few months for the parties to reach a settlement. The total amount of time is going to depend on various factors, like the severity and longevity of your injuries and the amount of damages you are asking for. The higher the amount of financial compensation you are seeking the more likely the insurance carrier is to undervalue or deny your claim.

Do You Need Help With Your Virginia Personal Injury Claim?

Writing an effective demand letter is just one of the dozens of things our Virginia personal injury lawyers handle for injured clients seeking compensation. There are many advantages to letting a qualified attorney handle the legal process for you while you focus on your recovery. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, call the law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today at (833) 997-1774 to schedule your free consultation. 

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