Basics of Settlements
If you believe you have been wronged, you can send a settlement demand letter to the offending person or company. This can serve as a formal notice that gives the person or company a chance to fix the problem outside of court. For example, if someone owes you money, you can send a settlement demand requesting payment by a certain date. If you are currently involved in a lawsuit, your lawyer can send the opposing party a letter proposing an out-of-court agreement; the other party can agree or disagree with the demand or negotiate the terms. If you are charged with a crime, a plea bargain settlement might lessen your sentence or even the magnitude of your crime. For example, if you are charged with first degree murder and face a potential sentence of 20 years to life, your lawyer can propose a manslaughter conviction and 15 years incarceration. If a settlement demand leads to an agreement, you and your opponent save the time, money and grief often associated with a trial; however, look into the specific laws of your state. Some settlement-related evidence may be admissible at trial, so be certain to carefully choose the information you share to avoid later disadvantages in case your negotiations fail.
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