A demand for money is probably the most common type of lawsuit. All businesses and individuals are likely to receive one at some point. What do you do when you receive one of these demands? Here is what you need to know.
What is a Demand for Money Lawsuit?
A demand for money is simply a notification informing one party that another party is pressing some sort of financial claim against them. It comes in the form of a letter drafted by a party known as the obligee (or their legal representation) stating that they object to some action taken (or not taken) by the defendant and demanding money as compensation.
What To Do When You Receive a Letter of Demand
Contesting a letter of demand can be costly and time-consuming. Before you do anything, you need to decide whether it is worth fighting the demand or working towards an early settlement. If you are convinced that the demand has no merit and the obligee cannot win a lawsuit against you, you may want to choose litigation. If the claim seems reasonable, however, whether you like it or not, it might be better to settle it. In the latter case, you can perhaps negotiate for a lower amount. That being said, regardless of what path you decide to take, here are four things you should always do when you receive a letter of demand.
- Do not ignore the letter. Failing to respond at all will not make the problem go away. In fact, it may make matters worse.
- Assess the validity of the claim against you. Be as objective as possible. Remember, if there is merit in the obligee’s argument, you are better off not litigating. Carefully consider the claim being made and take reasonable action.
- Hire a lawyer. It is always best to have an attorney help you consider the demand and then draft a response on your behalf.
- Send a response. Whether you write it yourself or have your lawyer do it, send a well-written and well-argued response as soon as you can. Taking this action indicates that you are acting in good faith and would like to resolve the matter.
How to Defend Yourself Against Banks
If a bank sends you a letter of demand in respect of your mortgage, car loan, or any other debt, there are two important things you absolutely must NOT do. Firstly, as we have already said above, don’t ignore the letter. Secondly, don’t despair, throw up your hands and prepare to hand your keys over. Instead, you should try to defend yourself against the claim, especially if foreclosure and eviction are the likely results. You can also delay legal action to give you time to catch up on your payments, or sell the home yourself to ensure that you get the best price, rather than having it auctioned off at a discount. If you are unsure what grounds you have for defense, get a lawyer on your side.
Can a Lawyer Help You?
It is definitely worth consulting a lawyer to help you manage a demand for money lawsuit in California. Defense against a demand for money can either be complicated or straightforward, depending on the precise circumstances. Either way, an attorney should be there to help you. A lawyer will be able to assess the claim against you and draft an effective response. Contact Westover Law and consult with one of our lawyers if you are facing a demand for money in Murietta or elsewhere in southern California.