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Settling Early: Making a Pre-Litigation Demand

If you’ve followed along with our blog, then you’ve probably learned that litigation can be very expensive. As true as that is, one of the best things about civil legal disputes is that there are always opportunities to settle these disputes–including before the case ever gets started.

Sometimes all it takes is for one party to serve a demand letter, and make a reasonable request to settle the dispute without resorting to litigation. A demand letter is a carefully drafted letter that usually has a certain number of components, including:

- A statement of the claims the person has; - Factual and legal arguments about the strength of those legal claims; - A factually supported statement regarding the extent of damages; - A demand for damages or other relief; and - The consequences the other party is likely to face if they refuse to settle.

If the demand letter is well-crafted, and demonstrates a committed interest in resolving the dispute by virtue of a reasonable compromise, then it should stand a decent chance at precipitating a counter-offer from the other party, sparking negotiations. With some luck, effort, and a commitment from both you and the opposition to reach such a settlement, you have a decent chance at resolving the dispute before litigating at all. The best upside to this approach is that both parties will save lots of money on attorney fees they would have incurred to litigate their case.

Demand letters, of course, are not guaranteed to work by any stretch, and there are times where a demand letter is not the optimal use of your time and money. As damages climb higher or as claims are less likely to succeed, the parties tend to lean more toward paying their attorneys to litigate versus paying to resolve their disputes. A skilled and honest litigation attorney will help you determine if a demand is likely to benefit you, and will help you craft a letter that will maximize the opportunity to settle your case early.

The civil litigation attorneys at Asheville Legal have drafted many demand letters and seen many successes. If you want to find out if a demand letter is likely to help resolve your legal matter, you should call us today.

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