Why Georgia Lawyers Send Written Demands and How They Can Lead to Big Payouts
Georgia lawyers send written demands to insurance companies as an essential part of the negotiation process in personal injury claims. A well-written demand serves several important purposes and can convince the insurance company to make a substantial payout. Here's why:
1. Clear and Detailed Presentation of the Case
A well-written demand letter presents the facts of the case in a clear and organized manner, outlining the details of the accident, the injuries sustained, and the damages incurred. By providing a comprehensive account of the incident, the demand letter helps the insurance company understand the extent of their insured's liability and the severity of the claimant's injuries. This clarity can make it more likely for the insurer to offer a fair settlement.
2. Demonstration of Legal Expertise
A well-crafted demand letter also showcases the attorney's knowledge of the relevant laws and regulations. By citing pertinent statutes and legal precedents, the lawyer demonstrates their expertise in handling personal injury cases. This can send a strong message to the insurance company that they are dealing with an experienced legal professional who is prepared to go to trial if necessary, increasing the likelihood of a higher payout.
3. Evidence of Damages and Liability
A crucial element of a well-written demand letter is the inclusion of supporting evidence, such as medical records, bills, and witness statements. This documentation substantiates the damages claimed and strengthens the argument for the insured's liability. When the insurance company can see the extent of the damages and the strength of the evidence, they may be more inclined to offer a higher settlement to avoid going to trial.
4. Settlement Offer and Time Limit
The demand letter also contains a settlement offer that the claimant is willing to accept in order to resolve the case without litigation. By providing a specific amount and a time limit for acceptance, the attorney creates a sense of urgency, prompting the insurance company to evaluate the case more quickly and carefully. This tactic can lead to a faster resolution and a higher payout, as the insurer may be more willing to negotiate a fair settlement to avoid the risk of a larger judgment in court.
What is Georgia's Time-Limited Demand Statute?
Georgia's time-limited demand statute is a legal tool that personal injury attorneys use to negotiate fair settlements with insurance companies. It involves sending a time-limited demand letter, also known as a "Holt demand," to the at-fault party's insurer, requesting a settlement of the claim within a specified time frame. Failure to respond to the demand within the given period may result in the insurance company being held liable for additional damages beyond their policy limits if their actions are deemed to be in bad faith.
Holt Demand and Bad Faith in Georgia Car Accident Law
A Holt demand is named after the Georgia Supreme Court case, Southern General Insurance Company v. Holt. In this case, the Court ruled that an insurer's failure to respond to a time-limited demand within the given time frame could expose them to potential liability beyond the policy limits if their actions are considered to be in bad faith.
Bad faith refers to an insurance company's refusal or failure to promptly and fairly settle a claim when the responsibility of the at-fault party is clear. Insurance companies have a legal obligation to act in good faith when negotiating and settling claims. When they intentionally delay, deny, or underpay valid claims without a reasonable basis, they can be held liable for bad faith.
Requirements Under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1
O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1 is a Georgia statute that outlines specific requirements for making a valid time-limited demand to an insurer. These requirements are as follows:
- The demand must be in writing and sent to the insurer by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested.
- The demand must allow the insurer at least 30 days from receipt of the demand to accept it.
- The demand must specifically identify the following information:
- The time period within which such offer must be accepted;
- Amount of monetary payment;
- Party or parties the claimant or claimants will release if such offer is accepted;
- Type of release, if any, the claimant or claimants will execute in exchange for such monetary payment;
- And the manner and time of the disbursement of such monetary payment conditioned upon the claimant's or claimants' acceptance of such offer.
By adhering to these requirements under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1, attorneys can effectively use time-limited demands to negotiate favorable settlements for their clients. At Bourne Law Firm, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in Georgia law and know how to navigate these requirements to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.
How Bourne Law Firm Utilizes Georgia's Time-Limited Demand Statute
At Bourne Law Firm, our skilled attorneys have extensive experience in leveraging Georgia's time-limited demand statute to secure favorable outcomes for our clients. By sending a Holt demand to the at-fault party's insurance company, we create a sense of urgency in the settlement negotiations.
Understanding and utilizing Georgia's time-limited demand statute is just one of the many ways our attorneys at Bourne Law Firm fight for the rights of our clients. If you've been injured in an accident and need experienced legal representation, contact us today for a free consultation.