Avoiding Legal Trouble

What Goes In A Demand Letter?

A demand letter is a letter written by a claimant or their attorney to a second party, demanding settlement for damages, injuries or payment for which the second party is considered liable.

For example, if you slip and fall in a restaurant and sustain injuries, you may want to write a demand letter to the restaurant owner. If you're in a motorcycle accident, you will be writing your demand letter to the insurance company of the at-fault driver. 

You will normally write a demand letter as a first step towards an out of court settlement. If this fails then you may move to court. So you have suffered personal injury and wish to make a claim. What should you include in your demand letter?

The Dispute

You need to give a detailed, step by step account of the dispute and state why you think the other party is responsible.

How did the dispute begin? Give details of any action on your part and on your adversary's part. Include information on any conversations you had, phone calls, unanswered calls, unbecoming conduct, insult or injury. Give dates and time if possible.

The Details of the Damage or Injury

Explain the nature and extent of the injury or damage. How has the injury affected your life or changed your lifestyle?

Maybe you are no longer able to pursue a passion or a hobby as a result of the injury. Remember to include any lost wages. If you suffered a spinal injury for example, you may no longer be able to work. Remember to attach all copies of relevant documents such as medical reports to serve as exhibits.

The Amount of Money/Restitution you Want

Specify the amount of money you are claiming and why. You should specify any costs you incurred as a result of the dispute or injury: Medical bills, professional fees, lost income, repair costs, etc. Insurance will hardly pay the full amount so may want to ask for a little more to make room for negotiations.


Gather all supporting evidence and attach these to your letter. These may include police reports, witness statement as well as photos of the incident and injury.

Deadline for Response

Include a paragraph indicating by when this claim should be settled. A period of 7-14 days is adequate to spur the other party into action. Send the letter by certified mail.

Depending on the magnitude of the claim, you may need a personal injury attorney, motorcycle accident lawyer, or auto accident attorney, depending on which specialty fits your case. This is always best for getting the right wording and documentation to back up your demand.