You have taken the first step in resolving your matters with the other party by writing and sending a demand letter. Basically, a demand letter briefly details the history of the complaint and demands a reasonable effort be made to resolve the problem.
With a demand letter, you are telling the other party what you want, when you want it, and making them aware that if the problem is not resolved, you will file a complaint in court.
The Goal of a Demand Letter
Of course, the goal of a demand letter is to reach a settlement without having to file a claim in court. You want to clearly and concisely state what you want in return. If you are willing to compromise, you should indicate that in your letter.
After all, your goal is to get the matter resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. In your letter, indicate what you are wanting to resolve this matter. For example, if your damages total $25,000, then indicate that.
You can also say, “while my damages total $25,000, I am willing to reach a fair compromise to settle this matter,” so the other party will know you are willing to work with them.
Setting Time Limits
To make sure that you can see that the other party is willing to work with you, you need to specify how the timeframe they have in which to respond before you pursue a claim in court. First, consider how long it will take for the letter to arrive.
In general, if you send the letter by priority mail with delivery confirmation or by certified mail, you can expect it to take about three days to arrive. Then, the other party needs enough time to come up with a solution to the problem.
You might want to say if you haven’t heard from the other party in 14 days or within 30 days, you will file a claim in court. Be very specific and do not waiver from what you say.
Don’t Expect an Overnight Agreement
In most cases, the other party will have to consult with their insurance carrier. Because of that, you might get a written response that they are willing to work with you, but now that the insurance company is involved you cannot expect a check to be written overnight.
When insurance companies are involved, they must do their own investigation, prepare their own estimates, and follow specific processes. You might receive your settlement within a couple of weeks, or it might take two or three months depending on the value of the claim and the nature of the situation.
However, you need to be realistic about the time that will be involved.
Keep Up to Date
If the other party is willing to work with you, then you most likely won’t have to go to court. However, make sure they follow through with their end of the deal. And, if they break the agreement, go ahead and file a claim in court before the statute of limitations expires.