How To Respond To A Legal Demand Letter

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

So you just received a Legal Demand Letter in the mail. It may get you thinking about whether you should hire an attorney. This is how to respond to a Legal Demand Letter.

“What Does the Letter Say and Demand?”

A Legal Demand Letter asserts that the recipient has allegedly engaged in some wrongdoing that makes him or her liable for damages. It is the official notice of wrongdoing. First, determine if the letter is not a scam; some con artists will try to “scare you” into sending them your bank account or other personal information.

Write down what the letter says with respect to the 1) facts, 2) cause, 3) damages and 4) how the issue can be resolved. Develop a strategy for handling each issue.

What does the sender assert are the facts of the case? Are these accurate? Before completing the entire letter, you might want to jot down your own memory of the event in question on a separate piece of paper.

What action or neglect caused damage? Can the plaintiff clearly prove that your actions caused any damage? There must be an unbroken chain of causation.

What monetary damages does the plaintiff seek? This amount will determine the financial risk versus reward of negotiations versus a court trial. Is it wiser to settle or litigate? All individuals have the right to resolve their disputes as they see fit privately.

What remedy to your alleged liability does the plaintiff suggest? If the dispute was brought into a court of law, the plaintiff would need to “prove” the facts, assertions and damages “beyond a certain threshold.” You have more rights in the court room, but it is also more expensive.

“Should I Hire an Attorney?”

Ascertain the seriousness of the plaintiff by the tone of the letter. In your response to the Legal Demand Letter, never admit anything that can be used against you in court. What are the merits of the claim against you? Is there a statute of limitations on the plaintiff’s case?

Contact a lawyer if you are unsure of how to proceed. He can offer professional legal advice assessing your liability and chances of success.

Your response to the Legal Demand Letter could be used in court. Use words such as “without prejudice” – meaning you do not concede any facts. Your response will set the tone for the negotiations or court trial.

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