Heading to court can be a hassle. It can get expensive, and it’s time-consuming. Before you take the plunge and hire an attorney, consider writing your own demand letter first. Then, schedule a consultation with an Indianapolis attorney for review.
What is a Demand Letter?
A demand letter is a formal letter sent to an opposing party before a lawsuit is filed that demands some sort of compensation. The letter would contain a demand for financial compensation, redoing a flawed job, or having the other party fulfill their end of a bargain, for example. The goal is to present the information in such a way that it would be possible to settle out of court.
You can take a stab at writing one yourself by following these 7 tips for writing a strong demand letter.
1. Make Sure Your Demand is Polite and Direct
Avoid attacking the other party. Instead, make sure that you approach the letter professionally. Present the facts objectively and without insults or aggressive threats. If you do end up going to court, a judge will need to see the letter as well, and aggressive threats can reflect poorly on the outcome of your case.
2. Be Clear About What You Want
Don’t tell the other party to fix the problem without describing your ideal solution. Ask for a specific amount of money, for example, or precise details about other compensation options, such as repairs. Don’t forget to provide a deadline for a response.
Make sure you thoroughly review and include the happenings of the pursuit thus far. You both know what’s gone on between you, but if you end up in court, the judge will only have a blank slate. Having all of the details in place will make it easier to justify your requests.
3. A Concise Letter is Easier for Everyone
Avoid dancing around the point or using more words than you need to. Getting directly to what you want shows the other party that you’re serious about having your needs met. Should you end up in a courtroom, too, busy clerks and judges might appreciate that there’s less to read.
4. Timing is Important
If you’re going to write a demand letter, don’t sit on it; make sure it’s sent to the other party as soon as possible. Additionally, as with all lawsuits, the sooner you start to get all of your information together, the better.
5. Keep Yourself Organized and Have Proof of Incident
In order to prove that you have a case, you might need to submit copies of documents along with your demand letter. If you require copies of accident reports, photographs, medical bills, or other financial statements, get those together as soon as possible. A complete package is better than sending along a letter and following it up with documents later.
6. Keep Hard Copies on File
In the court of law, the written word is better than a spoken arrangement. Keep at least one copy of your demand letter for yourself. If you decide to hire an attorney, he or she will need a copy, too.
If you’re thinking about writing a demand letter, having a personal injury attorney on your side could be extremely helpful. They can help you draw up a draft of the letter you plan on sending and would be able to give you some guidance on what to include. If you do end up in court, which would be the next step on your way to recovering damages, you’ll want an attorney there as well.
7. Consider Hiring an Attorney to Review Your Demand Letter
The Indianapolis personal injury lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham can help you write a demand letter, or at least give it a thorough review. If you’re thinking about writing a demand letter as your next step in your case, give us a call at 317.920.6400 or fill out our online contact form to see what your options are.
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