Many people think that a lawsuit is needed in personal injury cases, but there are less drastic steps that should be taken first to attempt to avoid the time and money involved in litigation. A demand letter outlining your injuries and losses is typically the first step in settlement outside of court.
Definition of a Letter of Demand
The initial letter written by one party demanding something from another party is a letter of demand.
A demand letter should include these things
- A statement of the wrong that has been committed
- The action or payment that is demanded
- The method by which the demand might be carried out
- The timeframe the demand should be carried out in before further action is taken
All of these details should be present to make an effective case that will stand up in court later if necessary. Of course, this is a bare-bones outline of what is necessary; it’s the details that determine a letter’s efficacy.
What Should Be in a Letter of Demand?
Demand letters can be drafted by anyone, but they should be written with legal professionals in mind.
An effective demand letter should be clear, concise, and specific. While it might be addressed to the insurance company of a person who has behaved poorly, the letter should ultimately be written with legal professionals in mind. Hopefully, the person who receives the letter will rectify the situation, but if they don’t then the claim will need to move into the legal system.
The demand letter might ultimately be read by a lawyer for the insurance company and used as a starting point in their preparation to defend the case. No matter who the letter is addressed to it should be written so that a third-party with no knowledge of the situation can understand your case and appreciate its merits.
What Should NOT Be in a Letter of Demand?
It’s important to know what a letter of demand should not be.
In order to draft an effective demand letter, it’s not enough to simply know what should be in such a letter; you should also know what to avoid. To begin with, a letter of demand is not the place for personal insults and attacks. The goal of such a letter is to convince the other party to rectify the situation at hand. Insults are more likely to cause the situation to escalate rather than bring it to a conclusion. It is important to keep the letter as professional as possible.
How Important is a Letter of Demand?
The letter of demand can be considered the first step on the road to justice.
In some cases, a letter of demand might be all that is needed to convince a delinquent party to produce what is owed. Legal cases that last for years might hinge upon a letter that was drafted in a matter of minutes. Keep this in mind if you ever have to write such a letter. If a claim is worth making, then it’s worth making correctly, and that means taking the time to draft a quality letter of demand.