Demand letters are some of the most highly sought after forms of legal actions taken by business owners and the general population who feel they have been unjustly hurt by another’s actions. This article is meant to help you understand the basics of a demand letter, when you should utilize one as an offensive legal strategy, and how you should respond to one in the event it’s served upon you. Keep in mind that while this article will touch on the actions to take if you receive a demand letter and how to respond, there are third parties available to help in the event a DIY approach isn’t sufficient, However, keep reading below for an analysis of some preliminary points you need to grasp regarding a demand letter.
What is a Demand Letter?
A demand letter is an attorney drafted letter sent to another party because of a wrong suffered at the hands of that other party. Perhaps, they did not pay you under a contract (breach of contract) or they just generally committed a legal wrong against you. Either way, a demand letter can be a great form to fix your legal dilemma.
How is a Demand Letter Structured?
A demand letter is typically structured in 5 consecutive major points:
- Highlight the previous exchanges between yourself and the opposing party.
- Describe the problem that you face as a result of the opposing party and illustrate the damages you have suffered.
- If needed, point out any previous times you have tried to procure payment or performance.
- As a result of non-payment or non-performance, spell out your official demand for the party to abide by in order to make you whole. In this section of the demand letter, you should also put a date that the opposing party must respond by.
- If they do not respond in a timely manner or fail to respond in a satisfactory way, thoroughly explain the following steps you will inevitably pursue.
When is it Time to Send a Demand Letter?
At this point, you have most likely attempted to procure payment or performance of the opposing party, numerous times. Furthermore, you have most likely failed in all those attempts. Thus, it’s time to send that demand letter.
The situations that produce the most demand letters include, but are not limited to:
- Opposing party has breached a contract. This is usually as a result of a failure to pay or a failure to perform under a contract. However, breach of contract claims can arise in a variety of ways, thus in most situations the common denominator of a demand letter is a breach of contract.
- Damages to your property. Perhaps, you are a landlord and your tenant refuses to pay you for a damaged portion of the apartment they rented out from you. Or perhaps, you are a homeowner, and your neighbor damaged your property. In both scenarios, if you have failed to have the other party pay you for the damages to your property, a demand letter should be sent.
- Cease and Desist Letter. Imagine you find out that your neighbor is continuously damaging your property. You have asked politely and maybe even demanded rudely that they must stop. Unfortunately, your verbal demands have not been met favorably. Therefore, it is time to send a demand letter to your neighbor in the form of a cease and desist letter.
- Insurance claims. These claims almost always arise as a result of an injury you have suffered. In order to get compensated for your injury, you will have to present a demand to the insurance company in order to cover your medical expenses in relation to your injury.
What Response Should you Expect?
Generally, there are four likely responses to a demand letter:
- The demand letter was accepted quickly. You received payment or procured a performance. Congrats!
- The opposing party sends a counter offer. It is to your liking, so you accept.
- The opposing party responds by denying your claim and explicitly states they will not comply with your demand. Now is the time to take them to court.
- The opposing party ignores the letter and fails to respond. Again, now is the time to take them to court.
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We hope this article has helped you make a thorough analysis of whether you need to utilize a demand letter. There are several online vendors offering affordable, top-quality legal advice through licensed attorneys who have years of experience dealing with thousands of demand letters that have achieved favorable results for clients. Whether you choose such a vendor or other legal help, or do it on your own, hopefully your situation gets resolved favorably.