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What is a Demand Letter and How Can It Help Me in My Chicago Personal Injury Claim?

Hurt in an accident in Chicago? You are certainly not alone. The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) reports that accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 44 in our state. Many tens of thousands people suffer serious injuries each year. The costs associated with a serious accident—medical bills, lost wages, etc—can add up quickly. 

If your accident was caused by another party’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, getting a settlement is often challenging. A demand letter is a key legal tool. Here, our Chicago personal injury lawyer explains what a demand letter is and how it can help move your case forward. 

What is a Personal Injury Demand Letter?

Most personal injury claims are handled by insurance companies. Further, only a relatively small share of personal injury cases in Illinois actually end up in court. Settlement is far more common than litigation. In effect, this means that the most common way injured victims get compensation for their injuries is through a settlement from an insurance company. 

This raises an important question: How do settlement negotiations in a personal injury case start? This is where a demand letter comes into play. A demand letter is a document sent by the injured party to the insurance company or responsible party, outlining the details of an accident, the injuries sustained, and the compensation being sought. In other words, a demand letter is: 

  1. A formal request for compensation through a settlement; and
  2. The initiation of negotiations between the parties. 

A Demand Letter Can Help Move a Personal Injury Claim Forward

When used properly, a demand letter is one of the most useful tools in a personal injury claim. It can help to get the defendant/insurance company to take your case seriously. Further, it can move things along and open up genuine settlement negotiations. By clearly outlining the accident circumstances, injuries, and resulting financial losses, your personal injury demand letter lays the foundation for negotiations. 

Your Demand Letter Should Be Drafted By a Lawyer (Key Details)

A demand letter is a very important document in a personal injury case. The difference between a well-constructed demand letter and a sloppy demand letter can be dramatic. Your demand letter should always be written by an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney. As a general rule, your lawyer will include the following key details in your demand letter:

  • The What (Facts): To start, the receipt of the demand letter should have a clear and comprehensive understanding of what happened in your case. A key aspect of crafting a personal injury demand letter is laying out the groundwork by detailing the incident. Among other things, this includes clarifying where, when, and how the accident occurred. You may want to include some supporting evidence, such as police reports. 
  • The Why (Liability): A demand letter for a personal injury claim should also include a very clear statement of the recipient’s (potential defendant or their insurer) liability. The letter should address the reasons why the recipient of the letter is legally at fault for the injuries sustained. Most often, this aspect of a personal injury demand letter highlights the potential defendant’s negligence. 
  • The Demand (Compensation): To effectively move a personal injury claim towards a settlement, a demand letter must have a clear—and well-supported—request (demand) for financial compensation. The dollar figure should cover all damages related to the accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other losses. As a general rule, it is best to itemize these costs and provide documentation. Though, how many details are provided will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • The Timeline (Deadline): Finally, a personal injury demand letter should include a reasonable timeline for a response from the recipient (defendant/insurer). The deadline—which is your personal deadline, not a legal deadline—can create a sense of urgency and prompt action. It helps to move the negotiation process forward. 

A personal injury demand letter is not a one-size-fits-all document. To produce the best outcome, a demand letter should be customized to meet the specific circumstances in your case. For this reason, it is crucial that you are represented by a Chicago personal injury attorney who is prepared to invest time and resources behind your case. 

Will an Insurance Company Settle My Case After Receiving a Demand Letter?

It depends. Whether an insurance company will settle your case after receiving a demand letter depends on several different factors. Along with other things, insurers will likely consider the clarity and strength of the liability and damages presented in the letter, as well as their assessment of the risks and costs of going to trial. The better the demand letter, the better your chances for receiving a favorable outcome—a full and fair settlement offer. 

Why Trust the Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers at Kennedy Watkins

Personal injury claims are complicated. It is normal to feel overloaded with questions after a serious accident. You do not have to take on a defendant or its insurance company alone. At Kennedy Watkins LLC, our team of Chicago attorneys are committed to putting the rights of victims first. With a history of verdicts and settlements across a wide range of cases, we have secured millions in financial compensation for our clients. When the right option for your case, our Chicago personal injury lawyers are ready to draft a compelling, customized demand letter that moves your legal claim forward towards a favorable settlement. 

Set Up a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today

At Kennedy Watkins LLC, our Chicago personal injury attorneys have secured millions in compensation for victims. If you or your loved one suffered a serious injury in an accident, we are here to protect your rights and your interests. Get in touch with us today for a free, completely confidential initial consultation. We represent injured victims in Chicago, Cook County, and throughout the entire region, including in DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County.

Attorney Watkins
Attorney Watkins Attorney Kennedy



Attorney Kennedy