Processing an Injury Claim: Beginning Settlement Negotiations

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Records and other evidence are crucial in a personal injury case. From the time that the injury happens, you need to keep meticulous records.  Write down everything you remember about what happened, before, during and after the accident.  It’s a good idea to keep a daily log of how you feel and how the event has impacted your daily life.  Documenting everything regarding your injury is vital to your case.  Video, photos and witness testimonies will help a great deal.  You will also need documented evidence proving the extent of your injuries.  Be sure to include not only physical injuries, but mental and emotional as well.  Keep records of all your treatments and document the effect it has had on your work and personal life.  If a defective product was responsible for your injury, keep the product in precisely the condition it was at the moment of the injury.  Also, keep all packaging, instructions and receipts that accompanied the product.  Make sure to obtain a copy of the police report, which may prove useful if the law enforcement authorities have determined that the other driver was at fault.

Prepare a Demand letter

The insurance claim demand letter is your signal to the insurance company that you are ready to settle your personal injury claim.  This is the means by which you communicate your terms to settle the claim.  Some of the things you will need to include in this letter are the facts of the case, your analysis, and your demand for monetary damages.  The demand letter should highlight the points that the victim had to suffer physically, mentally and financially through no fault of theirs.  Once the letter is completed, it should be sent to the insurance claims adjuster.

Emphasize liabilities

Liability in personal injury law is largely divided into three categories; intentional wrongs, negligence, and strict liability.   Describe how the accident happened and why the other party may be liable.  If you have witness testimony and police reports to back up your theory, you should attach copies of these along with your demand letter.

Your Injuries and Treatments

Describe your injuries and treatments.  Emphasize the pain and suffering you have endured.  Explain the difficulty of your recovery and the negative effect it has had on your daily life and how it has impacted your ability to work or enjoy life.  Do not be overly dramatic in your explanation, as insurance companies will dismiss claims they believe to be false.  Use appropriate medical terminology whenever possible.

Comparative Negligence

In many accidents, there is always a question as to whether your own carelessness or actions were a contributing factor even though the other person was primarily at fault.  Raise the issue in your demand letter by denying that you were at fault at all.

Lost Income

The victim should submit evidence for the loss of pay suffered as a result of the accident.  Make a brief statement of the amount of time that you have missed from work due to your injuries.  Include a copy of a letter from your employer verifying your pay and missed time. 

Medical Expenses

Include a complete list of every medical provider you received treatment from and the total amount charged by each one of them.  Make sure your list matches the medical billing records that you have.

In the last paragraph of your letter, demand a specific sum of money as total compensation for your pain, suffering, lost income and any other losses you deem applicable.  Along with your demand letter, send the insurance copies of documents, records, letters and bills to support your claim.

Previous Page: How Much is Your Case Worth? | Next: Negotiating Your Settlement Amount

 

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