Small claims courts exist in every state. The purpose is to allow the court to decide small claims matters quickly and with little expense to the party bringing the action. Business owners in particular prefer to bring their matters in small claims courts because they save substantial amounts of money by not retaining a lawyer or otherwise finance lengthy litigation. They also save time since the court usually hears small claims matters within weeks of filing.
Each state has different qualifying factors and dollar limits for the filing of small claims. In most states, you cannot sue in small claims court if the matter in dispute involves more than $10,000. In addition, no state allows the filing of a suit that contains criminal allegations or involves a divorce. Take advantage of the many resources available to help you file and present a small claims legal action.
1. Determine whether your case qualifies for small claims court help.
2. Contact state offices for small claims court basics in your jurisdiction.
3. Seek free small claims court assistance from state legal aid societies.
Find out if you can bring your suit in a small claims courtNot all classes classify as small claims. You must check the limits and other small claims court basics set by your state's judicial system.
Contact your state's small claims court office for information on how to file and present your caseSome states do not allow lawyers to represent you in small claims matters. In addition, small claims courts in some states have strict procedural rules to follow while others do not. The only way to find out is to contact the state's own small claims court office.
Judicial Council of California provides specific small claims court information on each of its counties. It also explains how to research your case before trial.