All personal injury settlements begin with a demand letter. Sometimes, a good demand letter is enough to successfully resolve a case. Other times, it simply marks the beginning of a longer negotiation process. Familiarizing yourself with demand letters is important if you recently suffered a personal injury and wish to seek restitution for your medical bills and other damages. If you need further assistance crafting, sending or responding to a demand letter, contact an attorney.

Is a Demand Letter a Legal Document?

A demand letter states a legal claim you are making against a party for allegedly causing or contributing to your injuries. It names the defendant, describes the incident and makes a clear demand for restitution because of the at-fault party’s legal wrongdoing or breach of contract. A demand letter becomes a legal document when you serve it upon the defendant. You do not necessarily need a lawyer to write one for you, however. You can create a demand letter by typing up a formal and professional document that includes all the required information and contains your signature.

Can You Ignore a Demand Letter?

You may receive a demand letter if someone believes you are legally responsible for his or her injuries, property damages or other losses. While you can technically ignore a demand letter, this will not make the issue disappear. Instead, ignoring a demand letter could mean the loss of your ability to negotiate with the claimant to achieve a settlement. Your claim will go directly to court, potentially costing you more time and money. Instead of ignoring the letter, take it to an attorney for review. An attorney can help you dispute fault and/or negotiate a fair settlement with the claimant.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Write a Demand Letter?

Unless you have history writing demand letters, you may prefer a lawyer’s assistance. A personal injury lawyer will know precisely how to craft the demand letter, how to phrase its text, how much money to demand and what information to include.

  • Your full name and contact information
  • The defendant’s name and address
  • A description of the accident
  • A breakdown of your medical bills and other costs
  • Information related to your injury and treatments
  • An amount you are demanding to settle the case
  • Supporting documentation

A settlement letter should be short, simple and concise while still providing all the information the insurance company or defendant will need to successfully review the case. One of the most important parts of the letter is the actual settlement demand. Demanding too little could undervalue your claim while demanding too much could lead to a denial. Work with a lawyer to get all the details of your demand letter right.

What Is the Next Step After a Demand Letter?

Once you or your attorney drafts a demand letter, you will serve it upon the defendant. Request a receipt for proof the defendant received the document. From there, you will wait until the defendant issues a response. Most insurance companies try to respond to demand letters or claims within 30 days.

Expect to receive a response within 30 to 45 days from the defendant. After a positive response, you will enter into settlement negotiations. You and your lawyer will have the chance to accept the settlement amount or reject it and negotiate for more money. Negotiations can take weeks or months depending on the case. If your demand letter receives a negative response or claim denial, you may proceed to take your case to trial.

What Happens If I Don’t Get a Response From a Demand Letter?

If the defendant ignores your demand letter, this does not drop the case. Instead, you will have the power to file a lawsuit against the defendant. File your claim within your state’s deadline or statute of limitations. Use an attorney to help you complete the claims process and handle an injury trial on your behalf. A trial could result in greater compensation than a settlement, but it will take longer to resolve. Both legal processes have pros and cons, and both start with a demand letter.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


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