A demand letter is a letter which states a legal claim and makes a demand that the recipient perform some obligation or correct a legal wrong. Sending a demand letter is a preliminary tactic which is used to induce another party to take some particular action such as making a payment to the party sending the letter.
Demand letters are often used when informal efforts to resolving a dispute fail and they are often used prior to filing a lawsuit. Demand letters are usually drafted by attorneys.
Before you draft a demand letter by yourself or through an attorney, it is important to consider who you are sending the letter to. It is important to consider whether the recipient is a friend or relative, someone that you will maintain a personal relationship with or whether it is a contractor, business or individual with whom you may have future interactions.
The type of letter that you send will be determined to a large extent by whom you are sending it to. In any case, when drafting a demand letter, it is important to avoid strong emotions and stick to the facts.
Prior to drafting a letter, it is important to have a detailed record of all your communications with the other party such as the date, time, the individual that you spoke to and the nature of your conversations about the problem.
It is also useful to keep a copy of documents such as contracts, bills, invoices, correspondences and statements. An effective demand letter will have features such as:
It is important to make and keep a copy of each letter before sending it and also retain a copy of the post office receipts. You can also send your letter by regular and certified mail with a return receipt requested.
Keep in mind that threats, especially empty ones that are just meant to scare the reader, will not work to your advantage. That can work against you if the issue does go to trial and the judge discovers that you attempted to “shake down” the other party by obscuring the facts and the law.
In personal injury cases such as car accidents, sending a demand letter is a key step in settling the claim. It may be possible to settle the claim and avoid further litigation by drafting an effective demand letter. A demand letter in a personal injury case will include:
Drafting an effective demand letter can take expertise. In this context, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney near you who can help you draft an effective demand letter and represent you in court if necessary.
Last Modified: 08-31-2018 02:05 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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