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How To Write a Settlement Demand Letter 
in Queens, NY



Table Of Contents

Perhaps you have suffered an injury caused by someone else. You may have suffered a slip and fall accident, for example, or a car accident. You should not be stuck with the bill, and you deserve compensation for the pain and suffering that you have endured. Rather than go to trial, most personal injury claimants first try to reach a settlement.Sending a settlement demand letter to the responsible party is the best way to kick off settlement negotiations. However, drafting an effective settlement demand letter is no easy task. In fact, most claimants ask their lawyer to write it for them.

How To Write a Settlement Demand Letter in Queens, NY

First Priority: Understand Your Case

Before you begin composing your settlement demand letter, be sure that you thoroughly understand your case. You need to understand New York law relating to your case, and you might even need some familiarity with regulations that are specific to Queens itself. You will then know how to apply the law to the facts of your case–and that’s the tricky part.

The Contents of a Settlement Demand Letter

Following is a list of the components of a well-written settlement demand letter. Remember, however, that the contents of a settlement demand letter very much depends on the specific circumstances. Don’t treat what you see below as an unalterable template.

The Header

Include your name, address, and the date you sent the letter. Also, include the name and address of the recipient–probably an insurance company.

Statement of Purpose

Get right to the point because insurance adjusters (or lawyers in corporate legal departments) are busy people. If you want them to read your letter, don’t beat around the bush. Your statement of purpose should be about a paragraph long. It should include a formal demand for damages for a specific incident that occurred on a specific date.

Add Details

You should add details of the incident that injured you, beginning with the second paragraph. This information typically includes:

  • The exact time and place of the incident;
  • A description of how the incident occurred;
  • A description of what you did immediately after the accident, such as calling the police or an ambulance.

You should also mention any witnesses to the accident.

List Your Damages

These damages might include:

  • Medical bills;
  • Lost earnings if you had to miss work because of your injuries;
  • Property damage (a totaled automobile, for example);
  • and Your pain and suffering.

Feel free to add any more damages that arose directly from the accident. For instance, you may have had to pay for child care while you were in the hospital.

State the Amount of Your Claim

How much money do you want? Calculate this figure based on rational standards-–the amount of your medical bills, your lost earnings, and your other financial losses related to the accident. Your pain and suffering damages could be more difficult to calculate. That’s okay because you should pad your claim for damages anyway in order to give yourself room to bargain.

Keep in mind that some lawyers will advise you to skip this step and let the insurance company make the first offer.

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Set a Deadline for a Response

The insurance company should know that you might file a lawsuit if they fail to respond within a certain time—typically 30 days. Don’t use the word “lawsuit”–something more oblique, like “legal channels,” is probably your best bet. You don’t need to demand a settlement by the deadline, just a response from the insurance company. The idea is to prevent them from stonewalling you.

Offer Contact Details

The insurance company should know exactly how to conveniently reach you at any time. If you have hired a lawyer, give them your lawyer’s contact details and tell them to direct all correspondence through your lawyer.

Carefully Proofread Your Letter

Even a minor error could detract from your credibility.

Attach Supporting Documents

Include anything directly relevant, such as:

Include anything directly relevant, such as:

  • Medical bills and records;
  • A police report;Property repair estimates;
  • Property repair esimates;
  • A letter from your employer detailing your lost earnings;
  • and A daily “pain journal” where you describe your suffering and detail how your injuries have affected your daily life.

Your lawyer can advise you on anything else you need to include.

Crafting the Perfect Settlement Demand Letter

First impressions count, especially in settlement demand letters. A trusted lawyer’s expertise can powerfully present your claim. Don’t worry about money; New York personal injury lawyers almost always charge nothing upfront and nothing in attorney’s fees unless you get compensation.