Wednesday, December 23, 2015

File A Small Claims Suit

Filing a small claims lawsuit can become necessary for a number of reasons, and does not require an attorney or expensive legal fees. Most small claims lawsuit forms are a couple of pages. However, it is important to remember the importance of only filing lawsuits if someone has really wronged you and you cannot work out the situation yourself. In addition, a small claims lawsuit usually has an award limit of less than $5,000.


1. Go to the courthouse to get your small claims lawsuit forms. Keep in mind that many localities also have printable forms available on the Internet. All California forms can be downloaded online (see Resources below.)

2. Write a letter to the other party, or defendant, before filing your lawsuit. This is required in many states. Without being threatening, state that if you cannot resolve the situation within 10 to 21 days, you will file a small claims suit in your local court.

3. Fill out the forms completely once you are certain you have to sue to get the situation resolved. You will need to write a paragraph regarding why you are suing someone. Common reasons include property damage or failure to repay a debt. Personal information such as your birth date and full name and address, as well as the name and address of the other party, is required.

4. File your paperwork and pay any fees. You might also need to pay a fee to have someone, such as a sheriff's department deputy, serve the lawsuit. In some states, you can have a friend or family member serve the defendant on your behalf.

5. Attend your court hearing as scheduled, and argue your case. Be sure any witnesses and supporting documents are present. If the other party fails to show up and was properly served, you will likely automatically win the small claims suit. If you win by judgment or default, you can ask the judge to garnish the person's wages or attach assets such as a home to repay your claims.

Tags: claims lawsuit, small claims, small claims lawsuit, other party, claims lawsuit forms, claims suit