What is Included in an Indiana Demand Letter? Definition, Purpose, and Responses

November 11, 2021 | Personal Injury

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligent actions of another individual, entity, or business, you should be able to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. Part of securing this compensation is sending a demand letter to the insurance carrier or the at-fault party asking for payment of your losses. Here, we want to properly define a demand letter and discuss what should be included in this document.

What is a Demand Letter?

In Indiana, a demand letter is a formal document sent by an individual (or their attorney) to another party, typically in the context of a legal dispute or claim. This letter clearly outlines the sender’s demands, such as compensation for damages or injuries, and provides a detailed explanation of the reasons behind these demands. It’s commonly used in personal injury cases, insurance claims, or other legal matters where the sender seeks a resolution or settlement. The letter serves as a starting point for negotiations and can be used as evidence if the dispute escalates to court proceedings. It’s important for the letter to be well-drafted, clear, and concise, and to include all relevant information about the claim, including any supporting documentation.

Demand Letter Process for Indiana Injury Claims

After an injury occurs and a person begins working to recover compensation from an at-fault party, a demand letter is going to be one of the first pieces of correspondence sent to the insurance carrier. This is part of the process of securing compensation for any injury caused by the negligent actions of another party.

An injury victim and their attorney must gain an understanding of total losses before they can draft and send an adequate demand letter. This means conducting an investigation and working with trusted medical and financial experts to calculate medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering losses, and more.

After an injury victim and their attorney have an understanding of these losses, a clear and concise demand letter needs to be drafted. This letter must be written professionally, which is why we strongly encourage all injury victims to work with an attorney to help them with this process. Most demand letters will include the following information:

  • A summary of the injury incident
  • All known facts surrounding the case
  • A description of the injuries and medical care
  • Any information about the expected future medical treatment
  • Copies of all medical expenses
  • Proof of lost wages
  • Proof of any other type of expense caused by the injury

A demand letter will also ensure that the defendant (the negligent party) understands exactly how much compensation has been requested as well as a clear date by when a response is expected. The letter will contain information letting the defendant know that there will be a lawsuit forthcoming if the full demand is not paid. 

Insurance Carrier Responses to Demand Letters

Insurance carriers and at-fault parties could respond to a demand letter in various ways. In general, an injury victim and their legal counsel will receive one of three responses:

  1. Demand letter acceptance. Occasionally, an insurance carrier will respond by paying the full amount requested in the demand letter. Insurance carriers typically do not like to pay the full amounts requested, so it is unlikely that this will be the first response.
  2. Demand counteroffer. It is much more likely that the insurance carrier will counter the initial demand letter with a lower offer. In general, a counteroffer will be much lower than the initial demand, sometimes laughably low. However, injury victims do not have to accept the counteroffer. This should be the starting point for negotiating towards a higher compensation amount.
  3. Demand letter denial. It could be the case that the insurance carrier or the at-fault party outright denies the demand. In these cases, it will likely be necessary for the injury victim and their attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to continue the process of recovering compensation.

This entire process can become very confusing for individuals without much legal experience. A car accident attorney in Indianapolis can use their resources to help clients fully investigate their claims, send a demand letter, and negotiate with insurance carriers to recover total compensation.