Legal Considerations for Demand Letters
Litigation is the most complicated game of chess anyone can play. Every move you make needs clear thought and careful execution, not to mention expertise that comes with years of practice. Every document that you send during a dispute has to be carefully drafted and vetted by the professionals to avoid any misfires. Demand letters are no exception.
Demand letters are simple straightforward documents, right? Especially in cases of medical malpractice, personal injury, or accident-related incidents, they come in handy to convey your expectations to the other party.
But as a legal practitioner, you must also know that there are certain boxes you need to tick off before you dispatch that letter, no matter how well-drafted it is.
Demand Letters - Definition in the eyes of the law
Until the demand letter is sent from an attorney’s office, it is just a tool or formal communication that the first party is using to convey their message to the second party. It is still a legally binding document that demands compliance. But when it goes from the attorney’s office it carries a lot more weight for the common man.
Legally speaking, a demand letter is a formal document that you send to establish claims and attempt to resolve a dispute. You can request payment, action, or both using a demand letter. Some also contain mentions of consequences if the receiving party fails to comply.
But that sounds a little threatening, isn’t it? Is that allowed? What are the considerations to bear in mind when you draft and send a demand letter? There are many and here is a brief snapshot of that in the next section.
What do you need to know before sending any demand letter?
It can be confusing, reading between the lines and decoding lawyer-speak for all non-legal personas in the house. So here is a quick list of what to check before you ship your demand letter to the second party.
- Toe the line between demand and extortion
Yes, you can tell them what the demand is and what the consequences are, but there is a fine line between stating your demands and extorting someone. For example, you can detail the responsibility of the defendant (receiving party) including the claim and consequence of non-payment. But, leveraging this information and asking them to do something outside of the legal boundaries is not acceptable.
- Keep it ethical
If the demand letter is going from an attorney’s office, it needs a few more checks. Lawyers have to adhere to the ethical standards set by the governing authorities, so some things that the common man can say are not allowed for a lawyer. So check the local regulations for ethical violations, privilege sanctions, and so on before sending the demand letter.
- Stick to facts
To safeguard yourselves from jeopardy and avoid any surprises in the trial, if any, stick to mentioning the facts, the bare minimum at that too. Do not include any unnecessary information other than to detail the premise and responsibility of the defendant in what happened. Word the demand letter very carefully to avoid tipping the scales in the other direction.
How to avoid any hiccups in drafting a demand letter?
Engage a professional even if you think you can do it all, especially for attorneys who have too much on their plate. Outsourcing this to a trusted professional team like The Medsum can help you sleep easy and gain an upper hand in the negotiations too.
Nothing motivates the second party to come to your terms more than a professional demand letter.
So, connect with the team today and get started right away!