Rules to Remember for a Persuasive Settlement Demand Letter

As an ex-claim adjuster (now an attorney), I have seen many injury demand letters that seek to increase an award of damages (typically pain and suffering). Some are so badly drafted that they could actually decrease the settlement amount an insurance company would offer. Many consumers attempt to settle their own claims but fail to realize the importance of a well drafted letter. Here are a few “rules” to remember before you sent yours to an insurance adjuster:

Rule #1: The letter must be typed! You obviously have computer skills; however, do not overlook this. Having a handwritten letter will destroy your claim and you will not be taken seriously at all. Be professional by going to the trouble of typing it.

Rule #2: Use proper grammar and double-check for typos. Again, it is a matter of appearing professional and as if you mean business.

Rule #3: Keep it short and to the point. Sometimes, this is very difficult to do. The accident has substantially impacted your life, so it is easy to ramble about several things. Try to stay on course and to the point.

Think about your letter as the letter you would send to the admission officer of a very prestigious college. Admissions officers read several hundreds of applications (letters or personal statements), and unless the letter is short, gets right to the point, and grabs their attention, they will not read it, but simply “scan” it.

Believe me when I tell you that adjusters do the same. If your letter is 25 pages long, the adjuster is going to roll her eyes and look for the bottom line: Okay, how much do they think they can get?

Rule #4: Equally, make sure your letter is not one paragraph long. Too long a letter will bore the reader and a too short one will look like you really do not believe your damages deserve the meticulosity of a longer text.

Please note: I am speaking of the letter wherein you explain your position (not the whole demand package). The demand package will have many pages, as you will enclose records and other evidence (explained later).

Rule #5: Remember, these are only suggestions. There is not one perfect way to write a settlement demand letter. I am only offering suggestions I believe will help you improve your award. You can use all of our suggestions, some of them, or none of them if you have a better approach.

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