Free Small Claims Demand Letter – Word | PDF

Small claims demand letter is a letter in which the plaintiff demands a settlement and expresses his intent to file a lawsuit in small claims court if the defendant does not pay the settlement amount. If you have suffered a financial loss and want to recover it, writing small claims demand letter is an excellent way to begin your recovery efforts.

Sending this letter to the defendant is often required before you can start a small claims court lawsuit. Even if you are not legally required to send this letter, doing so can help your case in several ways.

Why Should You Write a Small Claims Demand Letter?

Your letter serves as notification that you intend to file a small claims lawsuit if the defendant does not pay the settlement you request. This letter is sometimes called a “pre-trial” letter for this reason. Your letter may spark negotiation and a settlement without the need for a court case. If you are required to file a small claims lawsuit, the judge will use this letter as evidence of your willingness to use the proper channels to resolve the issue.

Your letter also serves as a complete statement of your side of the story. You may think the defendant knows what they did to cause your loss. This way of thinking is true to some extent, but they only know their side of the story. Writing about the incident from your perspective helps the defendant see the incident from your point of view. It also helps the judge understand your case if you must go to court.

Note: If your letter does not help you recover your loss, you can file a lawsuit at your state’s court clerk’s office. You will file a complaint and a summons. You should be able to demonstrate that you attempted to serve the defendant.

You can usually represent yourself in a small claims court. This court works more quickly than other courts, and your case should be seen and adjudicated within a few months. Keep in mind that winning your lawsuit does not automatically guarantee you will be able to collect the settlement.

Important: Small claims courts handle cases in which the plaintiff seeks an amount less than the maximum limit for this court. The maximum amount for small claims courts varies by state, so do your research before you write. If you are seeking a larger settlement, write a settlement demand letter and file your lawsuit in a higher court.

Send your small claims demand letter to the defendant via certified mail with a return receipt requested. Keep a copy of your letter with the receipt in case you need to file a lawsuit. This receipt is proof that the defendant received your demand letter.

What to Include

  • A concise description of the incident, including the incident date
  • An itemized list of your losses (this list can be written on a separate sheet of paper if desired)
  • The total amount you are requesting
  • A timeline of actions you have taken to attempt to resolve the issue
  • A deadline for the payment of the total amount requested
  • Your state’s name

Small Claims Demand Letter Format

{your name}

{your address}


{defendant’s name}

{defendant’s address}

Dear {defendant name},

This letter serves as a formal demand for payment of damages in the amount of {total amount}. This amount is the total of my costs resulting from {incident and incident date}. I have enclosed an itemized list of my costs.

{Provide a concise description of the incident here.}

{Provide a timeline of your efforts to resolve the issue here.}

If I do not receive the total amount of {total amount} by {date, usually 15-30 days from date of letter}, I will promptly file a claim in {your state} small claims court.


{your signature}

{your name}

Sample Small Claims Demand Letter

Jacob Henderson

204 West Memorial Drive

Jackson, TN 38557

June 6, 2030

Henry McGuire

2068 South Harvard

Jackson, TN 38557

Dear Mr. Henry McGuire,

This letter is a formal demand for payment of $1,879.00, the total amount of the cost of repairing the damage you caused to my cabin at 508 South Hemlock in Eufala, Tennessee, on April 30, 2030. I have enclosed the estimate for repair.

On March 25, 2030, I agreed to allow you to use my cabin from April 29 to April 30, 2030, to celebrate your anniversary. I left you the keys on April 29, 2030, when we met at the cabin. When I arrived on April 31, 2030, to clean the cabin, I found the roof damaged due to your negligence with fireworks on April 29. I have enclosed a copy of the Eufala fire department’s report stating you called them to put out the fire caused by your fireworks.

I sent you an email on May 2, 2030, and May 10, 2030, requesting payment of the damages. You still have not paid all or part of the amount I requested.

If you do not pay the total amount of $1,879.00 by July 6, 2030, I will have no choice but to file a claim in Tennessee small claims court.


Jacob Henderson


Small Claims Demand Letter (Template)

Small Claims Demand Letter (Template)


Small claims demand letters are an excellent way to begin recovering your losses, even when they are not required by law. Your demand letter tells your side of the story and demonstrates your willingness to go through proper channels to seek damages. Send your demand letter via certified mail so you can prove the defendant received your letter. You will need a copy of your letter and the original delivery receipt if you must file a claim in small claims court.

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