Questions about doing my own demand letter - victim, 3 party

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Latest post Thu, Jul 28 2016 10:02 AM by Taxagent. 4 replies.
  • Wed, Jun 15 2016 2:39 PM

    • Krutoymush
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Wed, Jun 15 2016
    • AZ
    • Posts 2

    Questions about doing my own demand letter - victim, 3 party

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Arizona

    I've been planning to write my own demand letter to my insurance company which offered me too low of a settlement, in my opinion. The statute of limitations is up in December. They have offered 2k. I was hit while waiting for drunk pedestrians to leave the crosswalk after the light had changed to green. First car hit me from behind, then a second car hit that one, which hit me again. (I have no idea why drivers in that area don't know to stop for a car with break lights on right in front of them). I was pretty stunned and not thinking clear enough to immediately take pictures, so the first driver suggested we pull the cars off the road. As we did that, the first driver fled the scene. The second driver stayed, as the the pedestrians to file a police report.

    My used Lexus absorbed most of it - with only about $800 in damages. I had a prior back injury from the military, for which I'm rated at 20% disability. I felt a bit sore after the accident so I took advantage of my insurance policy's coverage for medical, which was only 1k. I went to a physical therapist till the funds ran out. I'm too poor to afford any medical on my own, and the VA is not too helpful. Anyhow, 2 days after the physical therapy, my back totally went out. It was excruciating and I would liked to have stayed in bed for the month that it took to resolve, but being poor I had to go to work (as a new adjunct professor at a small 2 year college). My students can vouch for how I was hunched over and in pain as I gave my lectures that month. I was finally able to get in to see the VA which gave me the muscle relaxants and pain pills to help resolve that. The only 'physical therapy' they were willing to give me was an electro-stimulus machine to put on my back, and that only after I attended a 'back class' downtown. 

    Anyhow, after that, my back was not the same as it was before (which was already messed up). I had more pain than before, and it now has a tendency to freeze up on me after I've been sitting. I gave it time, thinking that it might go away, but it seems like it's worse than before - and will stay that way. My insurance company was then willing to pay for me to get an MRI to see if there was anything that stood out. The MRI didn't show anything physical, other than the pre-existent degenerative arthritis. The Doc at the Back Class told me that backs are strange that way - some people have no injury that shows on the scan, but they have real pain, and sometimes others with obvious things like herniated disks feel just fine. I did some other reading into that and current medical knowledge points to some sort of 'memory' in the nerves that some think is the source of the pain. My insurance company also allowed me to see a back doctor to get the MRI scan assessed. I asked him if we could prove that the new back problems were related to the accident and he said it would be hard to prove a connection. As I was leaving, I had a question, so I went back into his area. There I heard him making his recording of the appointment, and he recorded that he thought the new back problems were an exacerbation of the pre-existing condition.

    I wish I could have gotten more physical therapy, but new adjunct instructors make very little. Even with the maximum number of classes you'll make under 20K a year. I didn't immediately get a lawyer because a) I wanted more time to see if the back got better, b) I was just way too busy with preparing to teach a new course that my boss requested, along with lots of personal study for a professional certification for a new business I've been trying to start. When I finally found the time to talk to lawyers they had no interest because either a) the statute of limitations was too soon, or b) the amount they expected to get me would be a wash after they factored in their fees.

    So, to my questions.

    1. Is it reasonable for me to do my own demand letter? 
    2. As there was a 3rd party involved (whose insurance company is covering a smaller percentage of the settlement) Should I make one demand letter and send it too my insurance company, or send one to each, breaking down the claimed amount according to their percentage of liability acceptance.
    3. I read that insurance companies can deny claims in the uninsured motorist category if you wait too long.... have I waited too long?
    4. Having to deal with these additional back issues for likely the rest of my life, is why I'm thinking that 2k is just too low. It's hard to put a number on your health and well-being, but I'm thinking I'd like to finally settle for 4-5K. Is that not unreasonable?

    Thank you in advance for anyone who takes the time to read and advise.

  • Thu, Jun 16 2016 11:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Questions about doing my own demand letter - victim, 3 party

    Krutoymush:
    Is it reasonable for me to do my own demand letter?

    Sure.

     

    Krutoymush:
    As there was a 3rd party involved (whose insurance company is covering a smaller percentage of the settlement) Should I make one demand letter and send it too my insurance company, or send one to each, breaking down the claimed amount according to their percentage of liability acceptance.

    I don't see that it makes any difference.

     

    Krutoymush:
    I read that insurance companies can deny claims in the uninsured motorist category if you wait too long.... have I waited too long?

    I can't speak to things you've read but didn't identify, but if the SOL hasn't expired, the answer is almost certainly no.

     

    Krutoymush:
    Having to deal with these additional back issues for likely the rest of my life, is why I'm thinking that 2k is just too low. It's hard to put a number on your health and well-being, but I'm thinking I'd like to finally settle for 4-5K. Is that not unreasonable?

    Yes.

  • Thu, Jun 16 2016 12:26 PM In reply to

    • Krutoymush
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Wed, Jun 15 2016
    • AZ
    • Posts 2

    Re: Questions about doing my own demand letter - victim, 3 party

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I wish you the best.

  • Thu, Jul 28 2016 7:52 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 13 2015
    • SC
    • Posts 101

    Re: Questions about doing my own demand letter - victim, 3 party

    You have asked an interesting question about demand letters. We've never experienced a demand letter so rely on others to help us learn more about all the facets of a claim.

    I've read that some demand letters contain a number and some do not. If a number is included it seems like it would create a ceiling. 

    What are pros and cons of a claimant (with or without being represented by an attorney) letting the insurance company to be the one to state the first "number." (a number that likely begins a back and forth toward a settlement). 

  • Thu, Jul 28 2016 10:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Questions about doing my own demand letter - victim, 3 party

    DanWard:

    What are pros and cons of a claimant (with or without being represented by an attorney) letting the insurance company to be the one to state the first "number." (a number that likely begins a back and forth toward a settlement). 

    In this case the insurance company has already made its first offer so there isn't any strategy to debate about whether to let the insurance go first. Instead, the problem is that the OP feels the offer is insufficient. Simply writing back saying "It's not enough, I want more" doesn't meaningfully advance things all that much. Telling the insurance company what he is seeking based on what his damages are is a stronger response.

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