When to use the Small Claims Court
You can sue people, businesses, or the government for $25,000 or less in Small Claims Court:
- You do not need a lawyer to sue in Small Claims Court-many of the court's rules are relaxed.
- You can sue even if you had only a verbal agreement with the other party, but it may be more difficult to prove your case.
- Disputes take up to a year or longer to resolve in court. You can ask at the local court office when new cases are likely to go to trial.
- If you win, the court may award up to $25,000 plus interest and costs. However, if you lose, you may have to pay the other side's costs.
- If you can't afford the court filing fees, you can request a Fee Waiver to avoid paying most court fees.
- You can only sue for money or the return of things valued at $25,000 or less, not including interest and costs.
- There may be other ways to get what you want without going to court.
Before starting a suit in Small Claims Court:
- Make sure you know the correct name and address of the person or business you are suing.
- Find out if the party you want to sue has any money, income, or property that can be sold.
- Figure out how much time has passed since the dispute took place. There are deadlines (called Limitation Periods) for when you can file a claim in court.
- Limitation Periods are different for different disputes, but the time limit is two years for most complaints.
- Decide if your legal problem relates to starting a claim at Small Claims Court.
- Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about what Small Claims Court is and deciding to go to Small Claims Court.
- Follow the Steps for instructions on deciding to go to Small Claims Court.
- Review the Resources to find new and in-depth legal information about your problem.
- See the Links for news and other helpful websites.