Sample Intent to Sue Letter

Claudia Diaz - Demand Letter - November 10, 2022

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If you currently have a dispute with a person or business and you are considering taking legal action against them, first consider sending a letter of intent to sue. A letter of intent to sue is used to notify an individual or business that legal action may be taken against them if the demands included in the letter are not met. Some small claims courts require that you reach out to the other party before filing a lawsuit against them. If you send a letter of intent to sue you will be fulfilling that requirement but more importantly, you may be able to resolve the dispute without having to initiate a costly lawsuit.

When Should You Send a Letter of Intent to Sue? 

As discussed above you may be required to send a notice of intent to sue letter or some type of pre-suit letter to the other party before you file a lawsuit. However, here are some other instances when you should send a letter of intent to sue: 

Key Elements to Include in Your Intent to Sue Letter 

For the most part, there are no set requirements for what to include in your notice of intent to sue letter. However, there are certain things you should make sure to include so that your letter is as effective as possible. 

Here is a list of suggestions for your intent to sue letter: 

  • A detailed description of your dispute. For example, is your dispute over property damage or a breach of contract? 

  • Identify who you intend to sue. For example, do you intend to sue an individual or a business? 

  • Statement of demand. How much does the other party owe you and for what?  

  • Include a deadline. Consider giving the other party 14 days to respond to you and state that if they do not respond within that time, you intend to sue them.

Note, there is also no requirement that states you need to hire an attorney to write an intent to sue letter, you can write a letter on your own. Ultimately the choice is yours to make. However, make sure to consider things like legal costs when deciding to hire an attorney. Even if you just need a lawyer to help you write an intent to sue letter, this could cost you more in the long run.  

How to Write an Intent to Sue Letter 

Step 1. Header

  • Include your contact information. This means your name and address. 

  • Date. The date you are sending the letter.

  • Include information on how the letter is being sent. For example, if you sent your intent to sue letter by certified mail add a line that states this at the top of the letter.

  • Include the other party’s name and address. Name of the individual or business you are sending the letter to and their address. 

Step 2. Statement of Intent to Sue 

  • Include a concise statement of how much money you are owed and the letter's intent. At the beginning of your letter, include a statement stating how much you demand the other party pay you. For example, if you own a landscaping business and a client owes you $1,000 for landscaping services, this information should be clearly stated at the top of the letter. Also, add a statement where you state that this intent to sue letter is a document and serves as notice of your intention to take legal action against the other party if your demands are not met. 

Step 3. Body of the Letter 

  • Include the most important facts of the dispute. Consider the “who, what, where, and when” of your dispute. For example, if you are suing an auto repair shop for damages to your car you will want to include who in the auto repair shop is responsible for damaging your car, how your car was damaged, when did you take your car to the auto repair shop, what was wrong with your car before and after you took it to the auto repair shop, etc. 

  • Include the settlement demand. Make sure to explain to the other party that you are open to settling the case if certain demands are met. For example, you hired a mechanic to fix your car and the mechanic damaged your car instead. You want to settle the case so you either offer the mechanic a chance to come back and repair the damage or state how much you wish to be reimbursed to pay another mechanic to make the repairs. 

  • Include how you would like to receive payment and by when. Make sure you have included a rough time frame or you have offered a payment plan by when the payments should be made. Also, include how you wish to receive payments, for example, if you know the other party well let them know you will accept Zelle or Paypal payments. If not include your mailing address so they can mail a check to you.

Step 4. Conclusion and Signature

  • Include a deadline. You may want to consider giving the other party 14 days to respond to the letter of intent to sue.

  • Include a signature. The document should end with the respectful “Sincerely” and your name along with your signature. 

Letter of Intent to Sue Template 

Below is a template letter of intent to sue you may use when writing your own letter. This template intent to sue letter is addressed to a customer that refuses to pay for auto repairs provided. As this is only a template make sure to input the information for your specific situation in the correct blanks. Also, feel free to add more information or attach documents to your letter of intent to sue to make it as effective as possible. 

How to Send Your Intent to Sue Letter 

We recommend you send your letter via email or mail. If you plan to mail your letter of intent to sue consider including tracking information or a signature request. 

If you include tracking information you will know whether or not the letter reached the other party. When you send a letter with a signature request, the postal carrier must hand-deliver the letter and the other person must sign the letter. We don't recommend sending intent to sue letters to individuals at a home address with a signature required. A signature-required mailing does work better when you send the letter to a business that can receive mail during usual business hours. 

What To Do If Your Intent to Sue Letter Does Not Work? 

If you sent the other party an intent to sue letter and do not receive a response or the other party refuses to meet your demand, consider suing them in small claims court. Small claims courts handle a wide variety of cases efficiently and affordably. This is because small claims courts were intended to be affordable and user-friendly. In some small claims courts, attorneys are not even allowed to represent you! 

Here are some common types of lawsuits you can file in small claims court: 

  • Disputes between landlords and tenants over the security deposit.

  • Disputes between individuals over money owed. For example, you lent your roommate money for rent and they did not pay you back. 

  • Breach of contract disputes. 

  • Disputes between two drivers after a car accident. For example, you were driving your car and got into an accident that lead to property damage to your car.

  • Disputes with auto repair shops for damages to your car.

  • Disputes between homeowners and contractors over remodeling or home repairs.

  • Disputes between individuals over property damage.

  • Disputes between a business owner and clients over outstanding invoices. 

Learn how to file a lawsuit in NYC small claims and California small claims

Author

Claudia Diaz

Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Claudia is a lawyer and certified mediator in New York and Florida. She has participated in dozens of small claims mediations in New York City courts

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