What should you do if someone owes you money but they won’t pay? Your first thought may be that you should sue. That may well be an option, but it can be a time consuming process, as well as costly. Even if you ultimately win at trial, if you retain a lawyer then you will need to pay that lawyer’s fees. Depending on the amount at stake, it simply may not be worth taking the matter to court.
Even if you ultimately decide to file a lawsuit, there are steps that you can take before you get to that point which could resolve the issue without having to go to court. One possibility is to send a demand letter. Maybe you’ve tried that already and it hasn’t worked. If you haven’t, the internet is awash with demand letter templates that sites like Legal Zoom, Nolo and Law Depot will provide for free. Once you have downloaded the template from the legal forms site, you would send it to your opponent yourself.
Would it carry more weight if a lawyer sent it out on law firm letterhead? Demand letters sent by lawyers are generally taken more seriously. If your opponent knows that you have retained a lawyer to review the case and send a letter, they may be more likely to pay you or take whatever action your attorney is demanding on your behalf. Another benefit of having a lawyer draft and send the letter is that the contents of the letter could later be used against you if the matter does end up proceeding to trial. Lawyers know what should and should not be said in a demand letter, as well as what tone is appropriate in any particular circumstances.
A letter from a lawyer may be all that is needed to settle your case and avoid costly and time consuming litigation. Even if the letter does not achieve what you are looking for, it may be a sensible first step towards resolving your dispute.