The Process Of Filing A Suit In Small Claims Court
Small claims courts are mainly used to resolve small monetary disputes. They are used for evictions and property claims in some states. The specific rules for small claims courts differ from state to state. But the process is rather similar no matter which state you are in. Read on to gain insight into what to expect when you decide to file a suit in a small claims court.
Steps of Filing a Suit in a Small Claims Court
Here are the steps to take note of:
- Try to settle the dispute outside of court
Many states will require you to sign an affidavit which states that you have honestly made an effort to collect the claim.
- Contact the county clerk
Contact the country clerk who is in the small claims court that is nearest to the residence or business of the person you are taking to court. If the defendant does not have contact with your state, you might be able to sue in your state where the contract had been signed. Generally, you need to sue in the state where the other party lives or does business. Out-of-state small claims lawsuits usually cost a lot of money.
- Fill out a complaint form
This complaint form, also known as a “Statement of Claim”, or “Plaintiff’s Claim” has to be filled out. You have to pay the filing fee,as well. The form will require you to write the nature of the claim, the amount of money involved and any supporting documents as evidence. The filing fees vary from state to state, but they cost around $15-$100.
- Send your “Statement of Claim” document to the defendant
The court clerk will provide more information about this service process. The person you are suing is given a specific number of days to answer your claim, or are simply ordered to appear on the hearing date. If the defendant pays you prior to the court hearing, you can notify your court to have your case dismissed.
- Small claims court trial
If the case goes to court, both sides of the story will be heard. The judge issues a ruling and if you win, you are responsible to collect the money owed.
Looking for Advice?
Having an attorney will be beneficial in the process of filing a suit and we have highly trained attorneys who have the necessary expertise to help you. In the alternative, we can assist with the filing and service of a small claims case. To learn more about the process of filing a suit in a small claims court, feel free to contact us today!