Let's say you have a dispute or an issue with a person and business, and you are considering taking them to court. The first thing you may want to do is sent them a "notice of intent to sue". This letter notifies the other party that a lawsuit may be filed against them if your demands (included in your letter) are not met. It's possible that the court your filing in requires that you reach out to the other party this way before filing. If you do send a notice of intent to sue, you can fulfill that requirement but also you can resolve the issue without paying court fees and spending additional time on the matter. This guide will explain how to write one.

When to Send a Notice of Intent to Sue?

You may already be ready to sue the other party, but as discussed above, it's possible the courthouse requires you to send a notice of intent to sue to the other party before you file. But in addition, there are some other occasions when you may want to send this letter out:

  • If you feel that there has been a breach of contract
  • If your landlord refuses to return your security deposit
  • If you have experienced damages to your home, car, or other belonging
  • If your insurance company has denied a claim
  • If you are owed outstanding payments from another party

What to Include in your Notice of Intent to Sue?

The notice of intent to sue has no set requirements or form to follow. Dispute can help generate one for you in minutes from your phone. But if you are writing it on your own, it's important to include the following:

  • The To and From fields: this should include both your and their name and address
  • A one or two-sentence summary of the dispute - this describes why they owe you money
  • References to the appropriate laws - this way the other party knows they have broken the law.
  • A demand for damages (as a dollar value) - that has a deadline and method for payment. Indicate if you are willing to negotiate.
  • A sentence informing them that you’re willing to go to court if they don’t comply.

It's important to remember not to threaten anything else in the letter. You don't want to find yourself on the bad side of the law due to making threats via letters.

How Should the Notice Sound?

You want your notice to invoke the following feelings and themes when the other party reads it:

  • Strong - you want the other party to know you are taking this dispute seriously
  • Accurate - your ability to describe the situation accurately will also help with presenting your case in court (if need be)
  • Formal - this is a legal document and so you want it to be written like it's an official document
  • Grammatically correct without spelling errors.

Write with your recipient in mind. Try to write in simple language that they’ll understand and hear.

Where to Send your Notice

It's important that you send your letter via mail to the other party in a way that is trackable. If you include tracking information - or more, a signature request upon receipt - you will have valuable evidence to show the court that your letter was sent. If the letter is sent with a signature request, the postal worker must hand-deliver the letter and obtain the other parties' signatures. You may find success sending it to the other party's place of business as they are more likely to be located there during business hours.

What To Do If They Ignore Your Notice?

Once you have sent the other party your notice of intent to sue, you have to wait to hear back from the other party. As you read earlier, you should include a deadline in the letter for this response. If they ignore your letter, it's time to consider suing them in small claims court.

Considering using Dispute's services to generate, notarize and file a small claim in minutes from your phone or computer.

Small claims courts deal with a vast variety of cases in a way that's intended to be quick and cheap for non-lawyers. In many small claims courts, you can't even bring an attorney to represent you.

Below are common types of cases you may consider filing in small claims court: 

  • Missing Security Deposit
  • Money Owed by a friend, or family member  
  • A Breach of Contract
  • Car Accident Repair Damages
  • Remodeling and Home Repair Costs
  • Property Damage
  • Outstanding Invoices Billed to a Client