Before filing a lawsuit in California, it is wise to send the other party a demand letter demanding payment. Most people overlook the benefits of sending a letter. Reasonable business people often pay what is demanded or request an alternative compromise to avoid litigation. Most California courts encourage plaintiffs to settle matters zealously outside of court before filing a lawsuit. For example, California small claims courts require plaintiffs to send demand letters to defendants before filing a lawsuit.
The demand letter is the layperson’s version of a legal complaint. In the demand letter, the moving party states what the dispute, the basis of such dispute, and the immediate demand for payment in lieu of seeking further legal action. Though you do not need to hire an attorney to draft a demand letter, it is in your best interest to work with one. Sending a demand letter on an attorney’s letterhead will definitely get the other party’s attention. It will show that you are considering lawyering up to dispute the matter.
How to Write a Demand Letter
The first part of the demand letter should provide a brief overview of the dispute. Keep the facts of the dispute simple and straight to the point. Avoid attacking the other party’s character and making false allegations. Remember, you will attract more flies with honey. Make sure the letter clearly identifies the risk associated with the other party not responding to your demands. In regards to your demand, keep it as simple as possible. State the monies owed and the method in which it is to be paid. Conclude the letter by stating that you will file a lawsuit if your demands are not met.
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