Send a Demand Letter before Filing a Colorado Personal Injury Lawsuit
Writing a payment demand letter may keep you from having to go to court
Filing a lawsuit and going to court are big undertakings in Colorado. Personal injury trials can be quite lengthy and expensive endeavors where there is much uncertainty regarding the outcome. Payment demand letters are one tool you can employ to keep your case from going to court.
It may seem unlikely that a simple letter could result in payment or an acceptable compromise, but don’t dismiss the idea too quickly. Payment demand letters actually result in successful outcomes about a third of the time.
Here’s why. When people owe you money, they tend to forget you in the hope that you will forget as well. But putting it in writing can make them view the issue more seriously. The defendant will understand that you plan to pursue your Colorado personal injury case in court and that they will have to devote time and energy to publicly defend their position.
How to write a Colorado personal injury payment demand letter
- 1. Verify and review the history of your dispute
This may seem like a no-brainer or even a waste of time – the defendant should be well aware of the particulars of the case.
While the letter itself cannot be submitted as evidence in a Colorado personal injury trial, the detailed history outlined in your letter can be used in later pleadings, briefs, motions or submissions filed with the court or sent to the opposing party.
- 2. Do not use inflammatory language, be polite
If your letter is simply a vehicle to personally attack your opponent, you will do nothing but encourage them to respond in kind, resulting in an unsuccessful effort. Your payment demand letter must take a professional, business-like tone so the defendant considers such things as their risk of losing, time and cost of a trial and whether they want your complaint to be made public.
- 3. Be specific about what you want
In your letter, be specific as to how the defendant can settle the dispute privately and out of court. Ask for a specific amount of money to be paid by a certain date. Or ask the defendant to do something specific such as fix the cause of your injury. Being specific will clear up any ambiguity about what your demands are.
- 4. Give your letter a professional look
Draft your payment demand letter on a typewriter or computer word processing program like Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect to give it a professional look. Make two copies and keep one for your records in the event the case evolves into a personal injury lawsuit and trial.
- 5. Enclose supporting documentation and disclose witnesses
Be sure to detail the expenses you’ve incurred as a result of your injury. Enclose all receipts and list any witnesses that are prepared to testify in court to the validity of your claim.
- 6. Threaten court action at the end of your letter
In the conclusion of your payment demand letter, state your intention to file a Colorado personal injury lawsuit if your demands are not met. Be firm but polite. The defendant must understand that you are serious and that this is their last opportunity to settle before undergoing the rigors of a lawsuit and trial.
Payment demand letters are sometimes successful in settling a case without a trial where you have less control of the outcome. In a trial, a judge is bound by the statutes and regulations relating to your case.
If a payment demand letter does not successfully resolve your case, request a consult with a Denver personal injury attorney at the Babcock Law Firm for workers compensation & personal injury to help you bring the strongest case to effect the best possible outcome.