Demand letters are often the first step to filing a lawsuit. They give the recipient formal notice of your intention to file a lawsuit. Demand letters can also be an effective tool in resolving disputes before going to court.
Are you looking to settle your insurance claims and don’t know where to start? While many people prefer writing their own demand letters, lawyers at Gibbs & Crivelli Slingshot Law in Austin strongly advise against this. It would be better to have your claims made by an attorney through a demand letter for better results and a smooth process.
Whether you choose to write your letter or get an attorney, you must know what a demand letter entails and its impact on your claim.
What You Should Know About Demand Letters
1. Avoid Words That Express Rage or Annoyance
The goal of writing a demand letter first is to try and reach a compromise. It is your way of offering an olive branch while allowing the other party to explore their legal options. In instances where you don’t reach an agreement, your demand letter will be presented either in arbitration or in court. Be direct and calm in your letter.
You don’t want the judge to read your letter and sense any form of aggressiveness. Also, ensure that your letter adheres to all federal and state laws, such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Be careful with what you write, as information you include in a demand letter will be used against you.
2. They Save You Money and Time
Litigation is time-consuming and can be very expensive. It would be in your best interest to find other means of settling your claims that do not involve you going to court. Although you don’t need an attorney to write your demand letter, you cannot settle a claim independently.
It is advisable to get an attorney to help you throughout the process, including writing the demand letter. You will still have to pay the attorney, but the cost will be much lower than that of litigation.
3. Courts Appreciate Demand Letters
Suppose you go to court after issuing or receiving a demand letter. In that case, it is obvious that you could not reach a compromise with the opposing party. Courts view demand letters as a token of good faith. They show that you had attempted to resolve the problem outside court. Even though your attempts were unsuccessful, the court always appreciates your effort to save judicial time and resources.
4. Demand Letters Indicate Seriousness
After a conflict or an accident, most people assume that no legal action will be taken against them by the victim. By sending a demand letter, you show that you are serious about pursuing legal action. This way, the other party may decide to cooperate and reach a settlement outside the court.
A demand letter does not have to be written by an attorney. However, a letter coming from a law firm is generally taken more seriously.
5. Ignoring Demand Letters Will Cost You
When it comes to demand letters, silence is never the answer. Once you receive a demand letter, contact your attorney immediately. Your attorney will help you respond by either making a counterclaim for the sum demanded or help you avoid the risk of going to court.
Consult Your Attorney
Demand letters can be a successful option for conflict resolution and settling claims. You must admit there is much about your state laws you don’t know. Consult your attorney when you need to write or respond to a demand letter for guidance and better results in the long run.