Being involved in an accident caused by someone else can be far more stressful than most people imagine. Your car may be wrecked, you may suffering from devastating injuries and you may be unable to work, meaning that your bills are now piling up. While the personal injury process could never be described as quick, you may be able to avoid a lengthy court trial if your are offered a fair and adequate amount to settle your case outside of court. The settlement process can help you get some relatively fast financial relief, so read on for more information.
The Demand Letter
After you meet with your personal injury attorney, but before you file your suit in court, you will send the opposing party a demand letter. This is no ordinary piece of correspondence: this letter summarizes your damages, why you feel the other party is at fault and the evidence you have to back up your claim. This letter puts the other side on notice of your intentions to file suit if your demand is not met. The demand is the dollar amount you are asking for to settle the case immediately. A good demand letter contains the following:
- A list of your physical and mental injuries and the current state of your health, or how the accident continues to affect your health.
- A listing of medical expenses and the dollar amount, so far.
- Your reasoning why the other party was at fault.
- A brief summary of your pain and suffering, including the mental affects the accident has had on you, your ability to enjoy life and to work at your job, and the effect it has had on your family (loss of consortium).
- The dollar amount you want to compensated for your damages.
The Amount of the Demand
You and your attorney will decide on a reasonable amount to ask for and a bottom line amount that you will accept, which will be slightly different. You can expect to be compensated for:
- Lost wages: All time off from work from the time of the accident. It's important that you include any sick leave or vacation time that you had to use as a result of the accident; you should not need to use up your valuable benefits. Don't forget to include time at home spent recuperating.
- Pain and suffering: You may not fully understand how a value can be placed on such a thing, but the insurance companies uses a calculation that inputs the dollar amount of your medical expenses and multiplies it by the severity of your injuries.
- Personal property lost in the accident.
Count on a personal injury attorney like Attorney Gary G. Norris to negotiate on your behalf to get you a fair settlement for your injuries.