What To Know About Using Small Claims Court

Do you have a case where somebody owes you money, but you don't think it's worth the hassle of going to court over it? If so, it's possible to take your case to small claims court. Here is what you need to know about using this legal process to reclaim your losses so you are fairly compensated.

Know The Exact Amount Of Losses

Small claims court is designed for lawsuits that are regarding a small amount of money. Make sure you know exactly how much you are owed and if it falls within your state's legal limits. For example, Tennessee has a limit of $25,000 for small claims court, while Kentucky has a limit of $2,500. Most states have a limit of between $5,000 and $10,000. If you are owed slightly more than your state's limitations, consider lowering your request so that it can be taken to small claims court. 

Fill Out The Paperwork

Now that you know that your case will be accepted based on the dollar amount you are asking for, you can fill out the proper paperwork with the court in order to file your lawsuit. You must have the contact information for the person you are suing so that they can be contacted for their court appearance. You can file your paperwork directly with your city clerk's office and pay the filing fee in person. 

Appear In Court

Once the defendant has been notified, you'll be given a court date to attend so you can settle your claim in court. While most people do not use a lawyer for small claims court, it is up to you if you want to hire one or not. A lawyer can be beneficial in situations where you have a lot of money on the line. If you are not planning to use a lawyer, you'll need to be prepared by gathering all of the evidence you can prior to your court date. You do not want to go into a small claims court case where it is simply your word against the defendant's. 

It is your job to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is responsible for paying you the money you feel that you are owed. Having contracts, copies of text or email correspondence, or anything of that nature that can back up your claim is going to help you significantly. It's also important that you are concise and to the point when telling your side of the story. These cases in small claims court often move quickly due to the number of cases that the court hears each day.

For more information or assistance, reach out to small claims lawyers in your area.