send a Demand Letter before filing a civil lawsuit
It’s always wise to do your utmost to resolve your dispute before filing a civil lawsuit. Nobody wants to be at the whim of the court system or even Alternative Dispute Resolution. You’ve probably unsuccessfully attempted to come to a solution with your adversary and you’re at wit’s end.
END THE HAGGLING WITH A FORMAL DEMAND LETTER
The next step is to write a Demand Letter that takes on a whole different tone for your dispute. It brings the element of seriousness into focus. What was an argument now becomes the threat of legal action. Black and white commands attention.
When you go to the trouble of laying out in an organized way why your adversary is responsible for your loss, what was once disagreement begins to hold sobering consequences, especially when the outcome is spelled out as filing a civil lawsuit.
THE ELEMENTS OF A PERSUASIVE DEMAND LETTER
Your Demand Letter will form the basis of the claim you bring, so do it right. Some courts also require that a Demand Letter be sent before a civil lawsuit is filed. It is best to start the letter with something like this. I would prefer that we resolve our dispute peaceably amongst ourselves, yet attempts at resolution have failed and I see no other choice but to take this to the next level.
Your Demand Letter should concisely explain:
- Why your adversary is responsible for your loss.
- The amount of your loss with substantiation.
- Asking that it be paid within a specific timeframe, such as 20 days, to be followed by a lawsuit (or Mediation/Arbitration, as applicable) if not paid.
For the first time, your adversary must confront the likelihood that you plan to have your day in court against them. They must face the fact that they will have to expend time and energy to defend their position and quite possibly become liable for your damages.
BEFORE SENDING YOUR DEMAND LETTER WORK THROUGH LAWSUIT ANALYZER
Make sure you work through Lawsuit Analyzer© before you generate your Demand Letter. You will be far better versed in the facts of your case, your damages, and your likelihood of prevailing. You might also want to share your results with your adversary. If your chance of prevailing is high, your results could be quite persuasive.
ATTORNEY INVOLVEMENT WITH YOUR DEMAND LETTER
If you think you may hire an attorney to represent you in your dispute, have your attorney review your demand letter before it is sent or have your attorney initiate their own demand letter. You can save on attorney fees by drafting the letter and asking your attorney to put it on their letterhead.