Step 8: Writing a demand
Now that you’ve gathered your medical records and a lien, it’s time to put together your demand package. We will break the demand package into four (4) parts: Summary of facts, liability, the demand, and exhibits. Let’s take a look at each of the sections.
Summary of Facts
This section of the demand is where you will create the narrative of the accident and your treatment. The more details (time, place, exact days and names, etc.), the more compelling your claim becomes. This is where you have to think like an insurance adjuster. What would you want to know about the accident if you were working as an insurance adjuster? If you were in that position, you would scrutinize every detail, making sure they were all related and cohesive. If you found an area with little detail, you would exploit that to limit the amount you would have to pay to settle the claim. You must carefully lay out how the accident occurred (police report). You must also describe the nature and extent of all your injuries and your treatment (medical records). This will will help you present a solid claim and leave little room for an adjuster to deny your claim.
This is the section where you explain why the other party involved must be held accountable for the injuries you suffered. This is where you may need to do some research into the proper legal terminology and how to phrase your statements. Essentially, the liability section of the demand package states that the other person’s actions are the direct cause of your injury. The police report, if there is one, will be very helpful if the police found the other driver at fault.
The Actual Demand
This is the part of the package that draws a great deal of attention. How much will you demand to settle your claim? Under the law, there are two general areas where an injured victim can recovery money, economic and non economic damages. Economic damages include past and future wages, past and future medical expenses and any out of pocket costs. They are easy to calculate/establish because you can just add them up. Non economic damages or compensatory damages are for your pain and suffering. They are not as easy to establish because they are very subjective to the injured victim.
It’s worth noting two important points about compensatory damages. First and foremost, no amount of money can make an injury heal faster or make an injured victim feel better, but they are provided for under the law. Next, insurance companies track everything and know generally what similar cases with similar injuries settle for in any given city or town. The key takeaway is to aim higher than what you think you should get but be reasonable. At this point the adjuster will already know that you’re not using an attorney so it is likely they will not entertain a demand that is not in line with your economic and compensatory damages.
The real objective in the amount you demand is to get the adjuster to come to the negotiating table with you and find a common ground. A good general rule of thumb is to ask for 20% higher than what you would reasonably think you would receive for the injury claim. That way you have room to negotiate if the insurance adjuster respond to your demand with a low offer.
The exhibits of a demand package are arguably the most important component of the demand. The exhibits serve as the proof of all your claims. Key exhibits include the police report and your medical records. These will back up the first part of the demand package by giving concrete evidence of your injury and the treatment you’ve received. Think of it like a court case. If you’re an attorney, you need proof to make any claims inside of the courtroom. Otherwise, a claim can’t be taken as fact. Using exhibits in the package separates the successful claims and those that get ignored.
The process of putting together the demand package can be daunting. That’s why you can click here for a template of how to structure and write your own demand package. Also, and never forget, should you get to this stage of your claim and feel lost, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our attorneys at The Slocum Firm. A member of our team would be happy to look over and give some guidance on the demand writing process.