If you were involved in a car accident and the other driver believes you're at fault, they may send you a letter of demand requiring you to compensate them for their injuries and damage to their vehicle. It's in your best interest not to ignore the claim but to respond to it.
There are various ways to respond to a car accident claim. How you respond to an accident claim sent out to you will depend on the specific circumstances of the accident. Here's a look at some of the different ways to respond to your letter of demand.
1. Accept the Claim
You may acknowledge that you caused the accident and that the amount of compensation the claimant is asking for is reasonable. However, you should contact your insurer before accepting culpability.
Once there's an admission of culpability for the accident, your insurer will proceed to make a settlement.
2. Negotiate the Claim
If you were to accept blame for the accident but believe that the amount of money that the other party is asking for is too much, you can offer to pay a lesser amount or pay the amount in instalments until the debt is cleared.
Negotiations with the other party needn't be formal, but it's a good idea to keep notes of important details, such as the date and time when the negotiations took place, which can be used as evidence in court.
3. Reject the Claim
If you believe that you didn't cause the accident, you should deny the claim and let the claimant know your reasons for denying their claim. Make sure you have gathered sufficient evidence to defend yourself in case the other party decides to take court action. For example, the police report should corroborate your side of the story.
Always be polite and courteous when turning the other party down.
4. Make a Counter-Claim
If you believe you were at fault but the other party contributed to the accident, you can make a claim against them if you suffered injuries or your car was damaged in the accident. Making a counter-claim helps reduce the amount of compensation you'll end up paying the other party.
You can respond to a car accident claim against you either verbally or in writing, but it's best to put your response in writing. If the claimant doesn't agree with you, they may go to court. If things reach this point, you'll need all the legal counsel and representation you can find. Legal service will cost you money, it will give you the peace of mind you need when handling a car accident claim.
If you need help with a letter of demand, contact a car accident lawyer in your area.