DEMAND LETTER

WHAT IS A DEMAND LETTER?


A demand letter is a formal, professionally prepared document requesting payment or other action to right a wrong. The recipient may have breached a contract or may not have followed through with an obligation.or may be otherwise in default. Demand letters are typically delivered before the aggrieved party takes legal action. They need not be written by a lawyer and in fact demand letters often appear more authoritative when written by a non-lawyer able to concisely state the case due to his or her unique experience and expertise.


FOUR TAKEAWAYS

A demand letter is a formal, professional document requesting payment or other action to right a wrong.

A demand letter typically specifies consequential damages.

A demand letter sets forth consequences if certain conditions are not met.

A demand letter requests some form of restitution.


PUT ANOTHER WAY

As the name implies, a demand letter is a document that demands some form of restitution. It is often preceded by phone calls and emails.


HOW DELIVERED

In most cases, a demand letter is mailed by certified mail and gives the recipient a final chance to rectify the situation. Most demand letters contain directions on how to make restitution, including payment details and deadlines.


RESPONSE

The recipient may respond by fulfilling the conditions outlined in the demand letter. He may, on the other hand, respond with his own letter denying the claims. Or he may simply choose to ignore the demand letter. The latter two options generally lead to litigation.


WHY USE A DEMAND LETTER

Most courts consider a demand letter a measure of good faith to try to come to a resolution. A demand letter shows that the sender is serious about coming to a resolution. Demand letters are frequently used in contract law, tort law and commercial law.


WHAT IS IN A DEMAND LETTER?

Demand letters begin with the purpose of the letter, a description of the damages and a demand for restitution. Most demand letters give the recipient a certain amount of time to resolve the dispute. They should also detail consequences if these conditions are not met.


BRIEF AND CONCISE OR NOT?

There is no prescribed length although a short letter is usually better. It should only be long enough to clarify intent. If it goes beyond that, it adversely impacts the letter's effectiveness. A straightforward letter demonstrates seriousness in a legal dispute. If the recipient doesn't respond and you end up going to court, a court clerk and judge will look favorably on the conciseness of a demand letter.


LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

Some demand letters may fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or may be subject to state laws. This Federal act and these state laws outline debt collection rules and they allow a debtor to seek damages if they are not followed.


DEMAND LETTERS IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES

With PI claims, the negotiation process begins with a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter presents facts about the incident to persuade the insurance company to offer compensation. A typical personal injury demand letter includes:

Description of the accident

Description of the personal injuries

Description of the medical treatment

List of medical bills

Statement of lost income if any

Injury settlement demand

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