Once you have determined every person or entity that might be responsible for your accident, your next step is to notify each of them that the accident happened and that you were injured. This may mean you send more than one letter -- for example, one letter each to the business and to the person who owned the property where you fell. If it was a vehicle accident, also notify your own insurance company if you believe you might file a claim under your own medical payments, collision, or uninsured motorist coverage. If you have no-fault automobile coverage, you must file a notice with your own insurance company immediately.
Write a letter of notification even if the others involved have assured you they will notify their insurance companies. If you know the other party’s insurance company, you may also send a copy of your notification letter to that company’s claims department (including the other party’s policy number, if you know it).
Your notification should be a simple typed letter giving only basic information and asking for a written response. It should not discuss fault, responsibility, or the extent of your injuries; you will discuss those things later on in your formal demand letter. The initial notification letter should do the following:
Include the date on every letter -- and make a copy for your own files before sending it.
There is no need to send your initial notification letter by certified or registered mail. But if you receive no response from the other party or its insurance company within two weeks of sending your notification letter, you should repeat the process, this time requesting a return receipt from the post office.
This article was excerpted from the book, How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim, by Attorney Joseph Matthews (Nolo).