If you are injured in a car or motorcycle accident, you should see a doctor right away.
When you’re hurt in an accident, whether you’ve gone to a hospital or chiropractor, our job is to help with your financial recovery while you work on your physical recovery. Once you have completed your treatment, we will take the next step to help settle your case.
What is a demand letter?
A demand letter is what we send the other insurance company once you have finished treating with the doctor. It is sent to the other company and it demands an amount way in excess of what we think you will get. We ask for a lot for two reasons: in case we have missed something important about your injury, or in case you have not yet discovered something serious about your injury. This prevents the insurance company from agreeing to a demand that was reasonable based on the information we had but turns out to be too low. This can create the difficulty that some of our less sophisticated clients see the huge amount demand and believe that is what their case should settle for. Thus, we try to explain to them early on how the demand letter actually work.
We try to get the demand letters out as early as possible, because that starts the clock running in the bureaucracies of the insurance companies. Regulations require them to proceed in a timely manner, and therefore we like to get the demand letter out quickly.
“If you file suit for me, does that mean I have to wait to go to trial?” A lot of people get worried when they see a suit filed, because they think that this means that they are definitely going to trial. As you are probably aware, only a small percentage of cases that are filed actually go to trial. The watchword in our office is: to avoid going to trial; prepare for trial.
Good cases in the hands of good lawyers don’t usually result in good verdicts, they result in good settlements. This is because if a good lawyer prepares his case strongly, it will elicit a good settlement offer. A good settlement is always better for a claim than rolling the dice and having to convince six to eight people on the jury to agree. This means that if a case is going to trial, it is because the lawyer didn’t prepare it, and didn’t have a reputation that would elicit a good settlement, or because there was a real serious liability issue. (For instance, a “word versus word” situation as to who had the green light.)
How do contested liability cases settle? The judge will usually ask the parties to agree what the value of the case would be if there was not a good defense. Let’s suppose this is one hundred thousand dollars. The judge will then try to get the parties to agree what the odds are that the plaintiff will prevail. Suppose it’s a hotly contested case, and it’s 50/50. The judge will then try to get the insurance company to pay half, or $50,000, based on this approach.