After sending the defendant a formal demand letter, or maybe even after you’ve served them, they may reach out to you with an offer to pay you less than what you feel you’re owed.
You’ll have to:
- Consider if going to court is effort and time
- If you need the money now, and if you need the money now, whether or not the amount they’re offering would make a difference worth waiting for
- Figure out how much money they may have and how hard it might be to get them to pay you even after you win in court
Most people end up settling their cases to avoid court. Even small claims court can be a hassle, although Dispute makes it easier than ever to file your case.
If you are offered most of what you’re owed, then you should very strongly consider accepting it or offering to split the difference.
If you’re offered far less than what you’re owed, then you should think about what you could actually win in court. Most of the time, you’ll need evidence to prove how much you’re owed.
If you think you should get extra money for pain and suffering, then you should know that you can’t get money for pain and suffering in small claims court (unlike regular court.)
Even if you are entirely within the right and would win a court case without any difficulty, the person you’re suing may not have any money to pay you. You may have to go to court again just to *try* and get your money from them.
In that case, your main concern should think about how you would get as much money in your pocket as possible as opposed to maximizing how much a judge says they owe you.
How to convince someone to settle
People generally only part with their money when they feel that it’s going to benefit them. In order to convince someone to settle their case with you, you’ll have to make them want to avoid court.
This starts with making them certain that you’ll actually take them to court if they don’t pay. By letting them know how and when you’ll file (such as by using Dispute and filing online two weeks after they receive the demand letter), you’ll have convinced them that if they don’t pay you, they will end up in a courtroom.
Afterwards, you need to make them feel that you have a case against them and that it’ll be better for them to pay you sooner rather than later. By letting them know that they will have to pay your court fees and interest, it makes it easier for them to tolerate paying you by making them feel like they’re actually keeping more of their money. You can convince someone that you have a case by referencing the law and how your evidence proves that they’re not just on your bad side, but also on the wrong side of the law.