One of the most difficult tasks that people encounter when involved in a personal injury case is putting together a demand letter. A demand letter is, essentially, a letter expressly stating a legal right and an amount due as reasonable compensation for injuries to person and/or property. In most cases, this task will be handled by a personal injury lawyer. Portland residents also have the option of completing a demand letter themselves if they are not yet prepared to take their claim to an attorney.
There are a variety of reasons that a Portland resident may want to attempt this on their own, although most personal injury attorneys will advise you against it. The main reason why most people will attempt a demand letter without legal advice is due to cost. A Portland personal injury lawyer will likely offer free consultations when originally reviewing a case, but once they take on a case, their fees could range as high as 30 percent of the claim’s settlement amount. This, for some individuals, is just too high of a cost, especially depending upon the expected settlement amount.
The good news is, though, that with a properly formatted demand letter, you could see results on your claim. Somewhere around 30 percent of potential defendants that receive these kinds of letters will often choose to settle before going to court. And, if for some reason you are not successful in your original efforts, you can always turn to a personal injury attorney for additional support in your claim.
The first place to look for help with putting together a demand letter is to look to the Internet. There are a multitude of reputable, legal websites that have posted demand letter samples and templates that will be able to guide you in writing your own demand letter. You don’t need to be a lawyer to complete these letters, but you will need to have a solid understanding of the facts of your claim, the physical evidence to back up any claims that you make in the demand letter, and the strong belief that you are in the right regarding your claim.
Once you have a solid template to work with, you will need to follow these simple tips on how to complete the demand letter.
1) Make sure to keep your tone polite, and to outline your claim in clear, factual language. Avoid any aggressive language, wild accusations or overly accusatory tones.
2) Provide a brief review of the timeline of your claim. When did the injury occur? What were your actions during the accident? When were police reports filed? When was medical treatment provided?
3) Finally, offer an ultimatum decisively. Use the evidence that you have in your possession as the guide for writing this ultimatum. Adequately state what compensation you are seeking, but do not include anything for punitive damages.
Following these simple rules, you can send a demand letter on your own. However, if you feel more comfortable retaining the help of a personal injury lawyer, Portland residents are urged to do so.