NY Attorney from different practice area needs basic advice on how to handle a demand letter and what to include

Asked over 2 years ago - Brooklyn, NY

I have a small dental malpractice case based primarily on misdiagnosis and unnecessary pain and suffering and punitive damages. As this practice area is new to me, I am hoping someone who has been on the receiving end of mentorship might be kind enough to give some guidance as to the following questions:

1. should the initial demand ltr be on my letterhead or be from my client?

2. to what extent should the ltr detail my client's claim?

3. should the ltr include a settlement #?

4. as the claim is relatively small, should the ltr offer to resolve the claim without involving the def's insurance co? w/ respect to this, does it make any difference if the letter is sent under the client's name or my name?

5. should i have a cert of merit before sending the ltr?

THANK YOU FOR ANY THOUGHTS

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Joseph Jonathan Brophy

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Avvo is a resource for clients, not for lawyers. That said, I would urge you not to pursue this matter. Your questions indicate you have no clue, and you are not going to learn enough from an Avvo answer to do a competent job. Send the client to a lawyer who is familiar and experienced with dental malpractice cases. As Mr. Lassen has pointed out, you are not going to make any money on a small dental malpractice case anyway, but more importantly, this is a highly specialized practice area. Assuming an adjuster even responds to a claim letter- not a likely scenario- a lawyer inexperienced in the field is not going to have a much better chance than a pro se to get a decent settlement for the client.

    Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . There should be an initial letter to the dentist/insurance company stating that you are representing the client. When you have assembled all the medical records and bills and know the extent of the damages, only then should you send out a demand package detailing everything and asking for a specific amount. Dental malpractice claims generally are not very lucrative, and if you file, you may end up spending more on costs than you may recover. Good luck.

    The answer does not create an attorney/client relationship and is for informational purposes only.

    Lassen Law Firm
    1515 Market St #1510
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    215-510-6755
    http://www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

    Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  3. Andrew Daniel Myers

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . No. I do not accept the premise that this posting was made by an attorney. The reason I do not accept this is that I handled my first dental malpractice case within the first year of graduation from law school when the ink was still wet on my degree, and I knew all of the answers to these questions. I went on to try the case before a jury despite the fact that the insurance company defense attorney was a seasoned experienced malpractice defense attorney.

    Retain an attorney. If no attorney will accept the case, it is because experienced malpractice attorneys know the elements of a legal claim. Medical malpractice law comes right out and states that there is no recovery for merely a 'bad result'.

    When you say you have a malpractice case based primarily on misdiagnosis, this means that you have a written medical narrative signed by a dentist.

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