It’s an unfortunate fact of life that there are times when people or organizations may do wrong by you. They may not pay you for a service that you completed for them after they agreed to payment or they may not be following an obligation that they have and it’s impacting you. What are you supposed to do when dealing with these people when they won’t answer phone calls, won’t email back, and have seemingly dropped off the map? This is when it’s time to speak to an attorney and send them an official demand letter.
What is a Demand Letter?
If you haven’t heard of a demand letter before you may have heard it by its other names such as a “cease and desist letter” or “letter of demand payment.” These letters are created by attorneys and sent after a party breached a contract or committed something illegal that is impacting the party sending the letter. The letter is used to demand restitution or completion of an obligation.
What Needs to Be Included in a Demand Letter
- State Your Authority: At the beginning of your letter, you will need to state that you are an authority of the injured party or are the injured party. This lets the recipient know who they should be working to negotiate with and the seriousness of the injured party.
- Explain Your Case: Lay out the details of the problem that has arisen and how the problem came to be. In this section, you will want to demonstrate the events that led to the issue and why the recipient is the responsible person that caused those events to occur.
- Consequences: This is one of the most important parts of the letter and is the basis of the demands. You will need to describe in detail all of the impacts that the recipient has caused due to their actions. Here you will describe any physical, mental, or emotional repercussions of the event and all costs that you incurred because of the recipient. Be sure to include not only the direct costs at the time of the act or negligence but all costs to you, both monetary and emotional, since that time to the present.
- Financial Burden: Another crucial element of the letter that will be referred back to throughout your settlement is the description of your financial burden due to the recipient of the demand letter. Here you will need to outline exactly all costs to you from; medical expenses, out of pocket expenses, wage losses, pain and suffering (mental, emotional, and physical), and damage to personal property.
Structure Details of the Demand Letter
Be sure to include a proper heading before sending out your letter. Your heading should include the following elements:
- Your name, address, and all contact information, including your phone number, and/or email address.
- The recipient’s name, address, and company name if applicable.
- The current date.
- If you are sending this to their insurance company, you will need to write “RE:” followed by the case number the letter applies to.
- Add “FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES” in all caps and in bold at the end of your heading.
The elements of your heading are important as well as the inclusion of your letter. To end your letter correctly for legal purposes include the following:
- Financial Conclusion: Calculate all financial damages that you have incurred due to the other party and state that total here.
- Due Date: Include a time that you expect the party to respond to you by. Make sure to leave enough time for them to craft a response potentially with their own lawyer, but do not make this period so long that it prolongs your restitution.
- Sign-Off: Thank the other party and sign your name at the end of the letter. Include a handwritten date of signage at the bottom along with your signature.
In conclusion, writing a legally sound and well—detailed demand letter can help you settle your claim effectively and quickly. Make sure you take the time to write it correctly and even consult a lawyer if you want to make sure all your bases are covered.