If you have a legal dispute with someone, whether it is contractual (like a breach of contract) or involves some other legal right, such personal injury, or a violation of intellectual property or privacy, a demand letter can be a great first step in resolving that dispute.
In this article, I am going to answer the targeted question of whether demand letters may be sent via email, but I’ll also cover what should go into your demand letter, its purpose, and some of the key pros and cons of sending them via email.
If you don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:
You can send a demand letter via email, but you should consider the implications of doing so and whether that is the best delivery method for this type of communication. Factors to consider include admissibility of the email communication in court, the risk of the email being blocked or overlooked, and the security of the communication.
Ok, let’s get into it.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
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What is a Demand Letter and What Is It Purpose?
Demand letters are preliminary communications that you send to someone with whom you have a legal dispute. It is typically sent before you file a formal claim against the party and is not part of the actual legal process (unlike a complaint and motions that you file with the court).
The purpose of a demand letter is to put the other party on notice that you believe you have a legal claim against them and to hopefully resolve the claim without the need for going to court.
It normally spells out in clear terms the nature of the claim, and includes the requested remedy for the wrongdoing (e.g. discontinuing the misconduct, paying damages arising from the misconduct, etc.). It also lays out the timeframe for remedying the wrong.
Who Writes the Demand Letter?
In most cases, a demand letter is written by a lawyer who is familiar with the dispute and the applicable laws. After all, you need a good understanding of what legal claims apply to the situation to draft a good demand letter.
Of course, you can try to do this alone (it is not a document that you need to file with the court, after all), but you may not get the same results as you would if you hired a competent attorney.
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Can You Send a Demand Letter via E-mail?
As stated earlier, you can definitely send a demand letter via e-mail. There are no formal requirements for demand letters.
However, just because you can send one via email does not mean that you should. Because the demand letter is part of a legal dispute, you will want to make sure that the intended recipient gets it, reads it, and can respond based on it.
On that note, let’s turn to some of the pros and cons of sending a demand letter via email.
Pros of Sending a Demand Letter Via Email
There are a host of compelling reasons why sending a demand letter via email is a good idea. Here are some of the key advantages of doing so.
Ease and Speed
Sending an email is easy. Everyone has done it and it is a universally accepted form of communication. You just need to hit send and the email instantly flies to the recipient.
A great feature of email is that you can track when it was sent and received. Many email systems also can track whether it was opened or not. If yours does not, you can install a plug in that allows this feature.
Plus, all of that information is readily accessible and stored, so you can present it to a court if needed.
If you are low on funds, email is a great option because it is free. Not much more to be said on that point.
Promotes Rapid Responses
If someone gets an email, it is easy for them to respond. So you can usually get to a resolution quicker than if letters are being exchanged.
Cons of Sending Demand Letters Via Email
Though there are many reasons why you should e-mail your demand letter, there are a number of disadvantages too, which include the following:
Email to Too Informal For the Situation
There are certain situations where an e-mail might be too informal. Depending on the situation, an email can convey a sense of informality that may not have the desired effect (the recipient may not take you seriously).
A more formal letter from an attorney on their letterhead sent via certified can often send a much stronger message than an email originating from your personal email account.
Emails Can Get Filtered, Blocked or Go to the Wrong Address
Most people have some type of spam filter on their email, so your demand letter can get blocked if it gets swept up by the filter.
Also, if you are mistype the email address or the intended recipient doesn’t use that email address anymore (or rarely checks it), you demand letter could be sitting unread for a long time.
If you have sensitive information in your demand letter, there is a risk that the email gets hacked or otherwise compromised. In that case, your sensitive information could be at risk of being disclosed, sold or otherwise exploited.
Emails May Not Be Admissible in Court
Now most courts won’t have a problem proving delivery via email, but there may be some courts who insist on heightened evidence of delivery. You will want to check your state and local laws to determine the rules around this.
So there you have it – a clear answer to whether a demand letter be sent via email and some factors for you to consider when evaluating this option. Hope this has been helpful and good luck!