A demand letter is aptly named because it’s a legal letter you write – or, more often, an attorney writes for you – asking another party to do something. It’s often time-sensitive and may have consequences if not followed up on. In personal injury cases, demand letters are often sent to insurance companies, with the victim asking the company to settle the case for a certain amount.
Not sure if you need to send a demand letter? Talking with an attorney can help you understand if a demand letter is appropriate in your case and what your other options may be.
Does the Insurance Company Have to Accept a Demand Letter?
No, an insurance company doesn’t have to accept the demand letter and agree to the settlement. However, they do have to respond to the demand letter and let you know whether they are willing to agree to a settlement, have a counteroffer, or want to take the case to trial. Which of these options is more likely depends on the details of your case and how much you’re asking for. An attorney can help you craft a reasonable demand letter to increase your chances of the insurance company accepting.
How Long After a Demand Letter Does a Settlement Take?
Assuming the insurance company accepts the demand letter and agrees to a settlement, the next issue is how long it takes to actually get the money in hand. This depends on a few factors, including which insurance company you’re dealing with and what bank you have if it’s being deposited directly. In general, it can take a few weeks to a few months to receive a settlement after the insurance company accepts the demand letter.
Do I Need an Attorney to Send a Demand Letter?
It is possible to write a demand letter yourself. However, you have a much better chance of the insurance company accepting the letter or being willing to negotiate a settlement if an attorney writes it on your behalf. This is because attorneys have experience writing these types of letters and know which issues to bring up and how to present your argument. It’s also important to remember that insurance companies have entire teams of lawyers on retainer for their interests. If they can clearly tell that someone wrote their own demand letter, they may think the person isn’t serious about moving forward if the insurance company doesn’t settle.
Having knowledgeable representation is crucial to putting forth your best case, and our law firm is prepared to advocate on your behalf, including dealing with insurance companies. Call (803) 888-2200 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.