A demand letter is a letter that you send to the party who is liable for your personal injury (typically the at-fault party).
Its purpose is to inform the defendant of the details of your claim and to pave the way for a possible out-of-court settlement.
When Do You Send a Demand Letter?
A demand for a payment letter in Colorado should set the stage for serious settlement negotiations. Timing is important. In most cases, the best time to send a demand letter is:
- As soon as you determine who is liable for the accident; or
- When your negotiations with the other party have stalled.
Either way, its purpose should be to motivate the other side to issue a reasonable settlement offer.
How Do You Write a Demand Letter in Colorado?
The following is a general overview of the structure of a typical personal injury demand letter:
- Summarize the facts of the dispute that led to your demand. This could be useful later, even at trial, if your case goes that far.
- Use a polite and professional tone. Enraging the other side with anything that sounds too adversarial will simply harden their resistance.
- Be specific about your demands. Break your claim down to the last dollar by itemizing the specifics (X amount for medical expenses, Y amount for pain and suffering, etc.).
- Threaten to file a lawsuit if the recipient does not settle your claim. Threaten in the most polite manner you can possibly phrase a threat, and include a specific deadline for a response.
Investigate to determine the actual value of your claim in advance, and be ready to file a lawsuit if necessary. And remember to keep a copy of your demand letter for your personal records. You might need it later.
Each state’s personal injury law is different. Assuming that Colorado law applies to the claim (the accident that injured you took place in Colorado, for example), you may need to take unique aspects of Colorado law into account.
Other considerations might come into play if the accident occurred out of state and the at-fault party is not a resident of Colorado.
Do You Need an Attorney to Write a Demand Letter?
It’s not always absolutely necessary to have your attorney draft the demand letter, but it is usually a good idea. At the very least, you should have your attorney look over your demand letter before you send it.
An error in a demand letter could greatly affect the value of your claim. You will likely need an attorney to determine the actual value of your claim so you know how much money to request.
If you ask for less than you deserve and then try to increase the amount of your claim later, the other side can use your previous underestimation against you.
What Should You Do If the Recipient Ignores Your Demand Letter?
If the recipient ignores your demand letter, you might try one more time, with a strong demand letter for payment. If the recipient ignores the second letter, it might be time to file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit will accomplish at least two objectives:
- It will prove to the other side that you are serious about your claim.
- It will give you access to the court-supervised discovery process, by which you can demand and obtain evidence the defendant possesses. You will also be able to question the defendant under oath (and the defendant can do the same to you).
Remember, filing a lawsuit doesn’t mean a trial is inevitable. In many cases, the evidence gathered in the discovery stage favors one side so strongly that the parties agree to withdraw the lawsuit and settle the claim.
We’re Here to Help
If you need to draft and send a demand for payment letter in Colorado, we can help. We can also help you negotiate your settlement.
We have been helping personal injury victims obtain fair compensation for 30 years and counting.
We are not a “jack of all trades” law firm that defends a burglary suspect one day and drafts a living trust the next. Personal injury law is what we do, and it is all we do.