I was involved in a car accident and have sent a few demand letters to the insurance company of the person that hit me (they were at fault). The insurance company has ignored me, so I am preparing to file suit against the person who hit me. Do I need to write them a demand letter first, and if yes, does the demand letter I wrote to their insurance company satisfy this requirement? Lastly, the California Superior Court website says a demand letter is necessary prior to filing in small claims, but it doesn't mention whether this is also true for limited/unlimited cases (my case involves sums beyond $10,000). Thank you
While my jurisdiction does not have a presuit demand letter requirement, why not simply send a demand letter to the adverse party and then file suit.
No, a demand letter is not necessary prior to filing a superior court limited/unlimited jurisdiction lawsuit in California.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney. This posting is not intended to constitute an advertisement nor a solicitation. Due to the high volume of phone calls and e-mails, not all phone calls or e-mails can be returned.
If your damages are significant, you would be well-advised to retain an attorney to jump through these hoops for you. Even one mistake could result in having your claim barred. Good luck.
I would advise against sending demand letters or suing on your own. Of course they will ignore demand letters. Often, many companies (not just insurance companies) ignore everything not sent by an attorney for anything that has to be resolved by lawsuit.
I find it highly unusual that you have written to the insurance company and have received no response whatsoever. This leads me to believe you're using an incorrect address or other contact information. The commissioner of insurance in California has certain requirements and adverse insurance company respond in writing. In fact, most insurance companies of you and unrepresented party is pray and try to settle the case early and cheap for a very nominal sum. You most likely will receive an offer of $500-$1000 for your pain and suffering and they will offer to pay some of your medical expenses.
If your case is any value whatsoever, it would be highly advised to talk to a personal injury attorney. Most of us offer free consultations. You can use the search function on this website or click over to the profile of someone who responded to your question
I find it odd that the insurance company is ignoring you. Have they ignored other correspondence or just your demand? The other question is when did you have this accident (it's important that you protect the statute of limitations)? Did the insurance company pay for your property damage? Have you made any efforts to consult with a personal injury attorney? These consults are usually free and would alleviate the headache you're about to encounter by filing a law suit.
You have a claim over the small claims limit and you cannot find a lawyer to represent you? I'm thinking you need to call a few more lawyers.
This answer is intended for informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this site. Nothing on this site is intended to be, nor takes the place of, legal advice.
The unfortunate truth about insurance companies is that their interest does not align with yours. They will do their very best in the beginning to get as much information from you as possible only to use that information against you down the line. I highly advise you not to send the demand letter before consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help analyze the value of your case and discuss the potential pitfalls involved.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.
Years licensed, work experience, education
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Publications, speaking engagements