Disclaimer: This blog is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and does not create or intend to create an attorney-client relationship. This blog post should never be used to replace the advice of your personal attorney.
A demand letter is a formal document that requires a party in a contract to fulfill their obligations or provide compensation to the sender. A law firm is usually in charge of drafting and sending this demand letter. These letters are generally the first step in a settlement negotiation process. If the recipient doesn’t comply with the demand letter’s requirements, the other party may take them to court. Note that a demand letter isn’t a legal requirement for filing a lawsuit against a company or individual that hasn’t completed their contractual obligations. The case may directly go in front of a judge.
What’s The Purpose Of A Demand Letter?
Several occasions warrant issuing a demand letter. They might include:
- A breach of contract
- Personal injury
- Copyright infringement (cease and desist letter)
The goal of the document is to inform the other party involved that there is a dispute. It usually gives the conditions under which the person or organization sending the letter will agree not to pursue further legal action. A deadline for fulfilling the requirements is usually also in the demand letter. Another of its important aspects is a detailed description of the conduct that caused the necessity of it.
People resort to demand letters when they want to avoid costly legal proceedings. Lawyers draft the demand as a kind of warning to the other party. The hope is to receive a settlement offer that will satisfy the injured party because lawsuits require a lot of time and resources that some people can’t afford. Demand letters work particularly well when they get addressed to insurance companies, to the point that some organizations deal with insurance claims regularly. They have entire legal divisions that dedicate their time to battling such claims. Losing an open-court case against an insurance company is a possibility, even if you are in the right, so sending a demand letter before filing a lawsuit might be cheaper and more effective.
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How To Write A Demand Letter?
It is easy to find a sample demand letter on the internet and use it as a template for your own. Various examples found on the web include:
- Personal injury
- Demand letters for car accidents
- Demand letter security deposit templates
Demand letters need to be legal remedies, so require a precise style. Their content should make the opposite side act on your demands. That is why the best strategy is to have a lawyer write and send one on your behalf. Someone with a solid legal background will know how to write down everything, what should go in the text and what’s best left out, and haow to send it.
Can You Ignore A Demand Letter?
You may receive a demand letter yourself, either in your capacity as a business owner or private citizen. Debt collectors often send such documents as a means to collect a debt. You can ignore them in theory, but no one with even the slightest sense of sound legal sense should tell you to do so. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. What you should do is call your lawyer and consult with them to assess the best course of action. If you think you are in your right to deny payment or services, or you’ve fulfilled your obligations, go to court. In case you are in the wrong, you might want to consider complying with the letter’s demands. The money owed will most likely be less than court and lawyer fees.
Is A Demand Letter An Effective Legal Remedy?
Experience shows that a demand letter is among the soundest strategies one can employ when they want a speedy resolution. It’s better than filing a small claims suit, personal injury claim, or contract claim breach. Simple phone calls and text messages won’t do the trick either. The only thing necessary is that the demand letter’s writing is precise, and it includes all the required information.
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The Type Of Information A Good Demand Letter Warrants
Your lawyer should list all the details of your claim in the demand letter. Let’s say you’ve been in a car accident, and the insurance company is too sluggish with paying out the money owed to you. There isn’t a set word count for a demand letter, but it needs to include the following, as a minimum:
- Proof of the liability in the accident, including your side of the story
- A detailed description of the accident itself
- Details about your injuries
- The medical treatments you’ve gone through
- All medical bills and income loss statements
- Your demand for an injury settlement
Most insurance companies don’t want to go through the tedious and costly small claims court system. They will probably make you a counter-offer or directly comply with your settlement offer. At the very least, you can hope for the settlement negotiation process to commence.
You’ve Sent A Demand Letter, Now What?
The period in which a company or individual has to respond to a demand letter may vary from one jurisdiction to another. Ask your lawyer about the rules and regulations in your state. Remember that patience will get you a long way. If you don’t rush things, you might get even more than you’d hoped for at first. You can make a provision in the letter stating the time in which you expect a response. You’ll be within your rights to proceed with involving the court if the offender doesn’t meet your demands within the outlined period.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about demand letters or require help to write one. Our specialists will be glad to help you out.
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