Accidents happen. According to data from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, approximately 400,000 emergency room (ER) visits are made in the state each year. Injuries account for nearly one-third ER visits. A serious accident can derail your life. You could be left with stacks of medical bills, missed paychecks, and immense pain and suffering.
Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Litigation is not required in every case. A demand letter is a useful tool to initiate settlement negotiations. At Plyler, Long & Corigliano, LLP, our Monroe personal injury attorney provides an overview of the key things to know about demand letters and personal injury cases in North Carolina.
What is a Demand Letter?
A demand letter is a formal, written document sent by the injured party—ideally, through their North Carolina attorney—to the party believed to be responsible for the accident or their insurance company.. In a North Carolina personal injury claim, this type of letter typically outlines the facts of the incident, establishes liability, describes the injuries suffered, lists medical treatments received and expenses incurred, discusses non-economic ways the accident has affected the injured party and often states a specific amount of money as compensation. It is an essential step before filing a lawsuit, as it communicates the victim’s position and offers a chance for settlement.
Why a Demand Letter is a Valuable Tool
What is the purpose of a demand letter? At its core, the personal injury demand letter can help to move a case towards justice. Here are some of the specific benefits of a well-written demand letter in a North Carolina personal injury claim:
An Opportunity for Settlement: Remember, the primary goal of a demand letter is to obtain a fair settlement without resorting to costly and time-consuming litigation. In many cases, the at-fault party or their insurance company may prefer to settle.
A Clear and Forceful Statement Evidencing Seriousness: Next, sending a demand letter signals to the other party that the claimant is serious about seeking compensation and has taken proactive steps toward doing so. You can increase the pressure on the counterparty.
Facilitate Negotiation: The demand letter acts as a starting point for negotiations, offering a clear presentation of the injured party’s stance. By stipulating the damages sought, both parties can commence discussions, potentially leading to an amicable resolution.
Four Core Elements of a Demand Letter in a North Carolina Personal Injury Case
There is a lot riding on a demand letter in a personal injury case. At its best, the letter can move your claim towards a full and fair settlement offer. At its worst, a sloppy demand letter could inadvertently undermine your case. It is crucial that a demand letter is always drafted by an experienced personal injury attorney in North Carolina. Here are four of the most important elements of a personal injury demand letter:
A Comprehensive Summary of the Incident: It is this section of the demand letter that provides a detailed account of what transpired, including dates, times, locations, and the actions of all involved parties. Your demand letter should present a clear chronology of events.
A statement to Establish Liability: The demand letter should explicitly point out the negligence or fault of the opposing party. In the context of North Carolina, which operates under a “contributory negligence” rule, it is essential to emphasize that the injured party had no part in causing the accident.
A Full and Detailed List of Damages: Within this part of the demand letter, you should list all the injuries suffered, treatments received, and any other losses. Be sure to provide an exhaustive inventory, which can include medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and any other costs incurred due to the incident.
Make a Demand for Settlement: Finally, often the letter should state a specific amount as compensation.. A specific, clear demand for compensation can help to move your personal injury case towards settlement negotiations. Be sure to provide a reasonable deadline for the opposing party to respond.
Contact Our Monroe, NC Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Case Review
At Plyler, Long & Corigliano, LLP, our Monroe personal injury attorneys fight aggressively to protect the rights and interests of the people who need legal help the most. Have questions about demand letters? We can help. Call us now or contact us online to set up your no cost, no obligation case review. With a law office in Monroe, we fight to protect victims and families all across Union County.