As part of early efforts to resolve any kind of personal injury claim, you (and your attorney, if you have one) might send a demand letter to the insurance company representing the person or business you’re trying to hold liable for your injuries.
This demand letter will include a description of the accident that led to your injuries, a summary of medical treatment you’ve received to date, an outline of other losses and damages stemming from the accident and your injuries, and finally, a demand for a dollar amount that you’d be willing to accept in order to settle the case. Learn the basics of writing an effective personal injury demand letter. So, what happens next?
In most situations, you'll get a timely response to this demand letter, usually from the insurance adjuster who is handling your claim. After all, most insurance companies are interested in resolving an injury claim as quickly and economically as possible. That’s not to say that the insurance company will respond by cutting a check for the amount you’ve asked for, but you can at least expect a counter-offer or some other indication that the insurer is ready and willing to negotiate a settlement of your personal injury claim.
Having said all of that, there is no law that requires the other side’s insurance company to respond to your injury demand letter. Insurance companies are free to take their sweet time in responding to your letter, and they can even ignore it (and you) altogether. But it’s not necessarily a good business practice, and it doesn’t happen often.
One thing you can do is follow up with the insurance company to make sure they received your letter. You may have included some incorrect contact or identifying information (the policy number, the name of the insured, the date of the accident, etc.) Don’t send another letter. Start by calling the insurance company and asking to speak to the claims division or a claims representative. Or check the insurance company's website to see if there's an easy way to email or "chat" with a representative.
Finally, if you’re not getting a response to your demand letter and other efforts to resolve your injury claim, you want to pay attention to the statute of limitations in your state. This is a law that sets a deadline on filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. You want to keep this option in play, so if your case is coming up against the filing deadline, get your lawsuit filed so that you preserve your legal rights to have the matter heard in court.
When you file a lawsuit, the insurance company is served paperwork that legally requires them to answer and begin the process of resolving your case. Even if the court is not involved any further, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary to get the insurance company to take your case seriously, so that you can get a fair outcome.