SettlementCentral.Com Newsletter

The Online Source for Personal Injury Claims

Issue 3

In this issue

  • When should you send out your Demand Letter
  • Don’t settle before you know the full extent of your injuries
  • Resist overtures toward an early settlement
  • Can you reopen the claim

Settle it Yourself Newsletter

Hello!! Welcome to this issue of Settlement Central’s Newsletter. We are pleased to share this newsletter with you, as our business is helping people get satisfactory settlements for their personal injury claims.

As more time is spent on rainy, dark roads in the fall, it is important that we are as prepared for the unexpected as possible. While none of us really anticipates being involved in breakdowns or accidents, “stuff happens”. If you have not yet downloaded the SCC Accident Form and placed one in each vehicle that you own, we encourage you to do so. Accurate information will be your ally in the event you are involved in an accident that is why we also recommend carrying a disposable camera in each vehicle. Plus it is there when you have that “wish I had a camera” moment. Now you will, as close as your vehicle.

SettlementCentral.Com tip:

Be ready for the unexpected. Print out a copy of our Car Accident Form to put in your glove compartment. Download it here:

In this month’s issue, we will discuss when you should send out your Demand Letter. It is important to learn how to handle your business with the adjuster, as this can set the tone for the entire settlement.

Thank you for your interest in our site; we hope you will find us to be an excellent source for your own personal injury needs!!

Jeanine Steele
Publisher, Settle it Yourself Newsletter 

When Should You Send Your Demand Letter?

The demand letter is your signal to the adjuster that you are ready to settle your claim. There are different opinions regarding when to send it out, because the right time varies from case to case. Part of what the insurers pay for when settling a claim is to eliminate the threat of continued medical care expenses and pain and suffering. 

If it appears that you have ongoing legitimate medical care expenses and pain and suffering, you will achieve a higher settlement than if you wait until you are completely finished with the care and your pain and suffering have become history. As time wears on and you last went to the chiropractor 12 months ago, the value of your pain and suffering has diminished.

However, if you settle before you know all of your injuries, you are stuck with the settlement even if the injuries were not fully diagnosed and even if they grow much more severe. This is a prime incentive for insurance companies to settle quickly. At first it may seem as if you have to beat the adjuster away from your door because he is offering to settle each month. This is not a signal that he is trying to fairly compensate you; he is just trying to get you to settle based upon your known injuries, before anything more serious is diagnosed. He wants to save his company money by getting you to agree to a settlement amount quickly. That way, the insurance company will legally avoid having to pay more if your injuries are slow to heal or leave you in continued pain, or if new injuries are diagnosed later in your healing process.

Some injuries – such as TMJ or tingling in the extremities (arms or legs), often don’t appear for a number of months after the accident. As an example, let’s say that you were treated for a while and started feeling better, so you put together a quick demand letter and settled after three months, receiving compensation for injuries to your neck and low back. Shortly thereafter, you noticed an ache in your jaw or tingling in your arms. After a few months of putting up with this, you go for a diagnosis and learn that you have TMJ or a pinched nerve that was caused by the accident.

Can you reopen the claim? Absolutely not! You are stuck with what you settled for.

That is one reason why, if your injuries are serious, you’ll want to wait until you are approaching what is known as maximum medical improvement before sending your demand letter and agreeing to settle your claim. By that time, you will know what you will have to live with and whether you need to demand payment for future care.

On injuries that are not so serious, it can be to your advantage to send your demand letter while you are still under active treatment. There are two reasons for this. First, the adjuster sees that, if he doesn’t get it resolved quickly, he is going to have to be paying more medical bills, and you may be incurring more pain and suffering. Second, as a part of your negotiations, you inform him that you will have at least one more visit to the doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist or other injury treatment specialist. You will send the adjuster an updated medical note with additional medical charges, adding increased pressure for him to resolve your claim fairly and quickly.

Demand letters are traditionally submitted in paper form (hard copy), although arrangements may be made to communicate via e-mail to those insurance companies that elect to participate in electronic settlement processing.

For more information on how to write a Demand Letter, Settlement provides the following assistance:

  • When Should You Send Your Demand Letter?
  • Placing a Value on Your Claim
  • How Much Money Should I Ask For In My Demand Letter?
  • Ten Easy Steps to Writing a Winning Demand Letter
  • Demand Letter Formats
  • Demand Letter Examples

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SettlementCentral.Com, Inc. is a Washington corporation providing general educational information, online, to personal injury victims throughout the United States on how to manage their own personal injury claims through the settlement process - from gathering the necessary information (evidence) to submitting claims and demand letters through engaging in successful personal injury settlement negotiations with insurance companies. Our online instructions and self-help forms and letters are designed to make for easy insurance claims settlements in the areas of auto accidents, pedestrian accidents, dog bites, vicious animal bites, premises liability, and slip and fall accidents.

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