By Whittal & Co.
Maybe you signed a contract with another party and they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. Maybe your neighbour damaged your property. Any way you look at it, you’re out money and it wasn’t your fault.
The million-dollar question is – what do you do next?
Don’t panic. These things happen everyday and often get resolved without issue. Start by talking it out with the other party. When things can be settled between two or more parties, everyone wins. It saves inconvenience, money, and the stress of a legal action.
However, if the other party won’t make it right voluntarily or cooperate, you’ll have to consider taking legal action. When starting the civil litigation process, being well informed is important. Everything from this point on will be used as evidence if a claim is made. By taking the right approach and being reasonable in the circumstances, you’ll increase your chances of a favourable outcome.
A proper first step in the litigation process is to formally tell the other party that you have suffered damages because of their actions. This can be done by writing a letter demanding payment. A demand letter doesn’t have to be complicated. It simply tells the other party what happened that led to your damages, the monetary amount of your damages, and how the other party can make restitution. In closing the letter, give a timeline of when you expect to be compensated – 10-14 days is standard. When you’re done, take a photocopy for yourself and send the original copy off in the mail or hand deliver it.
What if they don’t respond or refuse to pay?
That’s OK. Gather your evidence of the damages and get organized. If your claim is under $25,000, you’ll need to file a Plaintiff’s Claim with the Small Claims Court. Drafting the claim can be a daunting task, as it is the basis of the lawsuit. Hiring a legal representative can ensure your Plaintiff’s Claim is drafted correctly. Whittal + Company is equipped with the right professionals who have experience drafting civil claims at the Small Claims Court level with proper regard to the law.
Successful claims start with a well thought-out plan long before going to court. Be amicable and stick to the approach. Going to court shouldn’t be your first option, but when it is the only option, ensuring that the proper steps were followed at the onset of the matter greatly increases the chances of a positive resolution for any damaged party.