Small claims court is used to sue someone you feel owes you a small amount of money. They exist in many different countries including the Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United States. States imposed the maximum amount recoverable in these courts. This amount ranges from $1,500 US Dollars (USD) in Rhode Island to $15,000 USD in Delaware, for example. Typically, the maximum amount hovers around $5,000 USD.
Issues brought to small claims court can usually be settled without the use of an attorney from either side. Often, the accuser and the defendant represent themselves in court. Because the value of the claim is often minor, the process and applications necessary to try a case usually are somewhat inexpensive.
To take someone to small claims court, first you must visit your county courthouse and ask for the paperwork that litigants need to file. This paperwork will give you all of the information you need about how to fill out the paperwork and how to get your claim processed by the court system.
This paperwork will also give you insight on how to properly present your case in small claims court. Study this and follow it as noted so you can be sure to stand the best chance possible of winning your case and getting the money you feel you are owed.
When you are preparing your evidence for your case, gather up any information related to your claim. This could include receipts, photographs, contracts, witness statements, or anything else that will prove that you should be compensated monetarily. Make three copies of all of this information; one for the court records, one for the person you are charging, and one for your own records.
Take one copy of your completed forms and a copy of your supporting materials to the courthouse so they can processing your claim. Then, mail a certified letter with the second set of information to the defendant. This will prove that he or she received notification of their need to be present in a small claims court hearing. Keep the third copy for your records and be sure to bring them with you to court.
The court will select a day for you and the defendant to appear in small claims court. On this day, dress professionally and respectfully at your court session. You need to present the best possible image and be as articulate as possible when presenting your evidence. Remember to bring all of your materials to this court session. This can include any witness who may give gravity to your claim.