After you suffered injuries caused by the negligence of another, you likely hired a skilled personal injury attorney to handle your claim seeking financial compensation for your loss. In addition to your injuries, you likely suffered other damages, including property loss of your vehicle involved in a collision. Your lawyer likely gathered evidence, recorded eyewitness accounts, reviewed your medical records and collected the police report to build your case.
The law firm handling your personal injury claim uses all of the evidence and facts in your case to determine its value before sending a demand letter for compensation from the responsible party. The damages, injuries and losses you endured play a significant role in calculating the actual value of your claim.
Once the worth of the claim has been determined, the lawyer will formulate a demand letter and send it to the parties at fault for your injuries, and any insurance carrier that provides them coverage. The demand letter sets the stage to begin settlement negotiations, and the amount the lawyer asks for will be based on specific information that includes:
Your injury and Subsequent Treatments
Because so much of the value of your claim is based on the extent, severity, pain and healing process of your injuries, it is essential to speak openly and honestly to your attorney of how you were hurt. Emphasize exactly how you hurt, the pain you feel, along with the difficulty and length of time required for you to recover.
Your attorney will seek information from your treating doctors to see if your injuries are permanent or long-term, which could raise the amount of compensation you will demand. Any additional condition such as being partially disabled, disfigurement, permanent scarring, soreness or stiffness will likely increase the value of your demand, due to your inability to be as mobile and active as before.
When describing your injuries to your attorney, it is best to break each step of your recovery into chronological order. Begin with exactly how you believe your injuries occurred in the accident or incident. Next, detail all of your treatments, surgeries, physical therapies and rehabilitation required to heal.
Describe the length of time the doctors believe you will need to recover, and provide medical records of all examinations, diagnoses, procedures and treatments received so far.
Based on your descriptions of how you are affected by your injuries physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually, your attorney will make demands for non-tangible losses. This will provide you the compensation you deserve for the pain, suffering and disruption to living a normal life. It might also involve unusual discomfort, inconvenience, embarrassment or other type of extraordinary loss. The law firm will usually demand compensation for loss of consortium, or your inability to maintain intimate relations with a loved one based on your physical and emotional injuries.
Medical Expenses and Lost Working Income
Many demand letters list every medical provider that provided you treatment from your emergency room visit to doctors maintaining your current health status. It will detail all medical costs involved in your recovery. In addition, the demand letter might also include a detailed outline of the amount of time and pay you missed from being out of work.
Your attorney will be able to make these demands because of all supporting documents that backup your claim, which could be used to prepare a case to go to trial in the event that a settlement cannot be reached. The documents could include actual photographs taken at the accident scene, along with pictures of your injuries taken at the hospital, by your attorney or at home.
Your lawyer will also incorporate existing laws into your demand that were violated when the accident occurred. This could include posted traffic signage at the scene of a car accident or proof of toxic material exposure to employees in a workplace environment.
The negotiation process will likely begin once the demand letter has reached the insurance carrier of the parties responsible for causing your injuries. Negotiating often involves a claims adjuster who will work directly with your attorney in an effort to come to a compromise to provide you adequate financial compensation.