What Is A Demand Letter in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
An insurance settlement can help provide the compensation you need to recover from personal injuries in Orlando. At Pardy & Rodriguez, PA our Orlando personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you get the maximum amount you deserve. Sending a demand letter detailing your damages, why the insurer is liable, and the intent to file a personal injury lawsuit if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached is part of the process.
Our Orlando injury attorneys explain more about what is included in a demand letter and what steps to take next if your demands for compensation are denied by the insurance company.
What is a demand letter?
A demand letter notifies the insurance company of personal injuries you suffer and the amount you expect them to pay. Under Section 627.736 of the Florida Statutes, it also serves as notice of your intent to file a personal injury lawsuit if your demands are not met.
When is a demand letter sent? You are required to notify your insurer as soon as possible of personal injuries for which they are liable, but a demand letter may not be sent until weeks or months later. This waiting period allows time for the following:
- For your attorney to conduct an investigation into your accident and gather evidence to support your claim;
- For your doctor to determine the full extent of your injuries and the maximum medical recovery you are likely to make;
- For your attorney to calculate your current damages and any future costs you are likely to incur due to your injuries.
Our Orlando personal injury attorneys will draft your demand letter, provide you with a copy, and send it via certified mail to the insurer. This provides proof that it was received and a timeline for a response.
How to write a demand letter
A demand letter should include basic information, such as your name, the insurance policy number, and the date the demand letter was sent, along with the following:
- The facts surrounding your claim: This includes the date, time, and place your injuries happened, how they occured, and the names of the at-fault parties involved.
- The damages you suffered: This includes a detailed description of your injuries, their impact on you and your family members, and any property damages involved.
- The amount you expect in a settlement: Personal injury damages in Florida include compensation for property damages, current medical expenses and lost wages, and any future treatment costs or losses in income that are likely to result from your injuries.
- A timeframe for receiving a response: Generally, a demand letter will give the insurer one to two weeks to inform your personal injury attorney of their response.
- Additional actions you intend to take if your demands are not met: The letter should make clear that you will pursue further legal action if your demands are not met.
A demand letter should be professional and should not include abusive language or personal attacks on the at-fault party. It should be written by an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney to ensure it conforms to Florida legal requirements and that any statements it contains cannot be used against you.
What happens after my lawyer sends a demand letter?
Insurers generally respond to demand letters within the time frame requested. However, there are three potential responses that could impact a final settlement and when you receive it:
- The insurer agrees to meet your demands: In this scenario, the insurer does not dispute your claim or the amount of compensation you are asking for. Once you sign a settlement agreement and release the insurer from future liability, you could have your money in as little as a few weeks.
- The insurer issues a counter-offer: If the insurer disputes the cause of your accident, the extent of your injuries, or the amount sought in the demand letter, they may issue a counter-offer. Our Orlando personal injury attorneys will review this offer with you and decide on the best course of action. Additional settlement negotiations could take several weeks or longer.
- The insurer refuses the demand letter: If the insurer denies the claim or otherwise refuses to meet settlement demands, your attorney will begin the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What is the next step after a demand letter is denied and a lawsuit is filed? Your case may either go directly to trial or mediation may be ordered, which are formal negotiations between both sides before an impartial third party appointed by the court. Settlements can often be obtained through mediation in as little as one day. Depending on the complexity of the case, a trial could last several months or more.
Ready to send a demand letter? Contact our Orlando injury attorneys today
If you’re ready to demand compensation for your damages, reach out to Pardy & Rodriguez, PA. You have only one chance to seek compensation in a Florida personal injury claim so before accepting any settlements, speak to an experienced attorney who can draft your demand letter and begin the claims process properly. With over 35 years of combined experience, we make every person a priority and are dedicated to providing the aggressive legal representation you need. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule your free consultation today.