If you were hurt in a personal injury case, you may need to make a demand from an insurance company to receive compensation for your losses. You should make your demand after you receive treatment for all injuries, but within the California two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
What to Include in Your Personal Injury Demand Letter to an Insurance Company
First, you will need to include identifying information in your letter. This includes your name and relevant numbers, such as the insurance policy number or the claims adjustment number.
Although you and the insurance company are figuratively sitting on opposite sides of the negotiating table, you should make it easy for the insurance company to put your demand letter with the right file. Remember: these are large bureaucracies who receive thousands of letters each day. Make it easy for them to route your letter to the right place.
Second, you should be very clear about what happened. If you were in a car accident, list the relevant intersection where you were hit. Explain in clear English how you were hurt. If you have whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, or other neck and back pain after the accident, you should also provide the official diagnosis from the doctor who treated you.
Third, you should explain what treatment you received: Did you have surgery to repair a broken bone? Were you in physical therapy? Did you have to go to the chiropractor? Again, you should use plain English to describe what happened.
Fourth, how did the injury affect your life? If you wake up in pain every night, or can't fall asleep because of pounding headaches, you should say this. Not being able to work for several weeks due to the injury, being unable to care for your children, or not taking enjoyment in your typical activities are all things the insurance company should know.
Remember to include details, including how you felt during your road to recovery.
Fifth, other than medical expenses, what other expenses did you incur? If you had to buy a new car or pay to fix your phone, make sure to include it in your letter.
Sixth, what do you want from the insurance company? In most cases, you will ask for a certain amount of money to compensate for your medical bills, replacement, and repair of personal property, time away from work, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. You should give the insurance company the total number you want and explain why you think they should give you that much.
You should close your letter by asking the insurance company to respond to you within 30 days and telling them the best way to contact you.
Before sending the letter, make sure you include all relevant evidence. This could include the police report, medical bills (including pharmacy bills), and anything else supporting your claims that they should provide compensation.
Personal Injury Demand Letter Template and Checklist
- your name and contact information
- the insurance company's contact information
- information about the insurance policy, including the name of the insured and their policy number
- specific information about your claim, including the claim number and your birth date
Dear [Mr./Ms. Claim Adjustor]:
- Introductory section [a brief explanation of the personal injury accident]
- when the accident happened
- where it occurred
- who was involved
- how and what happened in the accident
Explanation of Your Injuries and Recovery
- what made you go to the doctor – did you have a headache, were you bleeding, etc.
- your diagnosis
- what your treatment involved, and any medication you were prescribed
- how long the injuries lasted
- how your life changed because of the injuries and treatment
- any lingering effects of the injuries after you completed treatment
Other Costs you Incurred Due to the Personal Injury Accident
- money spent on fixing your old car or getting a new car
- costs to replace or repair other personal property, such as electronics, clothing, or your cell phone
- the money you lost because you weren't working
- new childcare expenses because of the accident
- The total you are asking for
- A breakdown of the specific expenses
- Why you believe you are entitled to compensation for emotional distress or pain and suffering
- How the insurance company can reach you
- When you want them to respond to you (usually within 30 days)
- The police report
- Medical bills, including for diagnosis and treatment
- Mechanic bills or cost to replace your car