Small Claims

 ALL NEEDED FORMS ARE FREE! 

 

Go directly to the Free Small Claims Forms

 

What is Small Claims Court?

It's where you can go to court to sue anyone for damages of $3,000.00 or less.  Any person or business can be sued in Small Claims Court.  If you are suing for damage to your vehicle you are limited in the amount you can claim ($400.00).  Otherwise, $3000.00 is the limit.

 

Do you need a lawyer?

No. Neither side can be represented by an attorney during trial.  Both you and the person or business you are suing in Small Claims Court must present your own case before the judge.

 

Does the person or business I am suing have to show up?

The other side may ask that the case be removed from Small Claims Court to District Court where both sides may be represented by a lawyer.

 

If I don't like the judge's decision in Small Claims Court can I appeal?

No.

 

Where do I start the small claims process?

Go to the nearest District Court and talk to the clerk or whoever is behind the counter.

 

How much will it cost me to file for small claims?

It depends.  If you are suing for less than $600.00 there is a filing fee of $25.00. If you are suing for more than $600.00, but less than $1,750.00 the fee is $45.00.  If you are suing for more than $1,750.00 the fee is $65.00. 

 

What papers do I file in small claims court?

You file a paper called "Affidavit and Claim", that you given by the District Court clerk, or you may print it from this site.  When you write the nature of your claim use simple English, the required language.

 

How do I get the "Affidavit and Claim" to the person I am suing?

The person or business you are suing is the "defendant".  You are the "plaintiff".  You get the defendant "served" by asking the District Court clerk to help you with that.

 

What if I get sued in Small Claims Court?

That makes you the defendant.  You can contact a lawyer to have the case removed to the District Court.  Or, you can show up at the time and date set for the hearing without a lawyer.

 

If you decide to show up without a lawyer you have the option of filing a written "Answer".  An "Answer" form can be obtained from the District Court clerk, or you may print it from this site.  You can 'counter claim' if you want to.  For example, if a landlord is suing you for damage to his front door you can counter sue for the furniture he won't let you have.

 

Basic Overview of the Small Claims Process 

Settlement.

You should try to settle the matter before you get to court.  Talk to the other side.

 

The Trial.

Show up a half hour early to locate the right court room and judge.  Be respectful to the judge.  The judge has a job to do and doesn't need a hassle from anyone.  The plaintiff, the one who started the lawsuit, will have an opportunity to speak first.  The defendant should remain silent until asked by the judge to make a statement in response to the plaintiff's remarks.  The judge may ask questions.  Do not make statements to the other person, but you may ask the judge if you can ask questions of the other person.  If you have papers you want to show the judge, like a receipt or an invoice, a lease or contract, present the papers to the judge.  If you have a witness or witnesses, tell the judge.  Ask the witness questions.  If you think the other person is leaving facts out or changing things around you will have an opportunity to tell the judge after the other side is finished talking.

 

The judgment.

The judge's decision is final.  There is no appeal.  A copy of the judgment form is on this site.  Generally, the court file has a blank form in it and it is filled out by the judge who give a copy to both the plaintiff and the defendant.

 

Collecting on the judgment.

A judgment can be collected 21 days after it is signed by the judge.  Go to the District Court clerk with your judgment and ask for papers needed to collect.  Also, find an attorney who will give one half hour of free consultation and ask what to do next.

 

IMPORTANT! Show up for Trial, be there or be square.

If the plaintiff does not show up for trial on time the case is dismissed.  If the defendant does not show up for trial on time the judge will sign a 'default' judgment against the defendant in favor of the plaintiff.  Show up on time. 

 

 

Free Small Claims Forms

Affidavit and Claims form and Instructions - click here to get it

 

 

IF YOU GET SUED IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT CLICK HERE

 


 

If you would like David R. Justian, Attorney at Law, to help you fill out this paperwork the fee is $75.00.  Contact him at Freelaw@lawthing.com.  Just click on the e-mail address on the left side of this screen.