Sending a “Demand Letter” as You Pursue a Personal Injury Claim

Ambulance and fire truck at the scene of an accident

Personal injury lawsuits are some of the most commonly filed legal cases in Staten Island, and throughout New York and the rest of the country. In essence, all of these types of cases have the same thing in common: the plaintiff claims that the defendant caused some harm and the plaintiff wants compensation for that harm.

But, what some of our readers may not know is that there is plenty of legwork to be done before a personal injury lawsuit is filed. The potential plaintiff’s evidence must be examined and a plausible path forward to success should be evident, based on the facts and the applicable law. And, one of the most important pre-lawsuit steps in personal injury situations is usually a “demand letter.”

Demand Letter Basics

So, what is a “demand letter” and what role does this document play in personal injury situations? Well, in simple terms, a demand letter is sent from the potential plaintiff to the potential defendant in the case, and the letter spells out exactly what the plaintiff would claim in the lawsuit, what evidence there is to support the claim and how much the plaintiff will seek as financial compensation. Then, usually, the letter states an acceptable settlement amount – if the claim is settled without the need for a lawsuit to be filed.

However, demand letters can be much more detailed than that. There is a significant element of persuasion involved, as the injured party attempts to persuade the negligent party of the practicality of settling the claim without a lawsuit, at the right amount for both parties and based on the facts available at the time. In the end, every demand letter is unique, and the results aren’t guaranteed. Oftentimes, the claim must proceed to litigation if the plaintiff wants to have a chance at a recovery of compensation.


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