Demand Letter

Once you’ve reached MMI, your attorney can put a dollar amount on your damages and send the insurance company a demand letter with the specifics of your claim. The demand letter will:

  • Show proof of the at-fault driver’s negligence
  • Itemize your damages
  • Demand a reasonable settlement


An insurance company does not stay in business by simply giving claimants the settlements they want. It will generally respond with an offer lower than your demand. Its adjusters and lawyers are paid to dispute and deny claims, especially those for serious long-term injuries or disabilities, which are costly. Only an experienced personal injury attorney knows how to stand up to these well-trained negotiators by:

  • Introducing additional evidence
  • Obtaining the testimony of expert witnesses if necessary
  • Retaining an accident reconstruction worker to prove the negligent driver’s fault if needed
  • Negotiating to get the award you deserve


If the insurance company still does not offer a fair settlement, mediation might be necessary. A neutral, third-party mediator could be called in to bring the two parties closer to an agreement on an acceptable award.


If negotiation and/or mediation results in an offer that your lawyer feels is acceptable, you’ll have the opportunity to look at it closely and ask questions. If you and your attorney agree that the award offered is reasonable, you will accept the offer and sign a release form stating that you won’t seek any more compensation for your accident.

The insurance company will process your check and send it to your attorney, who will deduct the fees and other costs you’ve agreed to and forward the remaining money to you. 

Going to Trial

If neither negotiation nor mediation results in the offer of an acceptable award, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the insurance company. This does not necessarily mean that your case will go to court. When the insurance company receives notice of the suit, it might offer you a settlement in order to save the expense of a trial.

If a trial does begin, your case still might be settled before the trial concludes. Many car accident cases are settled out of court at some point in the process described above. It’s important to remember that:

  • The outcome of a trial is not certain.
  • You might get a larger award than the insurance company is offering.
  • You could possibly get less than the current offer, depending on what happens in court.

How Long Will it Take?

A Charleston car accident case could be resolved in a matter of months, but some cases do drag on longer, depending on:

Whether you settle or go to trial.

An out-of-court settlement is faster, less expensive, and less stressful for all concerned.

Difficulty of determining fault.

If the negligent driver’s fault is clear, obtaining a settlement is typcially faster than when fault is disputed.

Evaluation of your damages.

Some damages are easily calculated, while others might require extensive negotiation.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.