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How to take someone to small claims court?

You may want to take someone to small claims court if you believe they owe you money or have otherwise caused you harm, and you have been unable to resolve the dispute through other means, such as negotiation or mediation. This is step by step guide on how to sue in small claims court. Either you are looking for to take you landlord to the court, or any company. Let’s go ahead and see how to sue someone in small claims

How to File a Small Claim

Reasons to take Someone to Small Claims Court

Here are some reasons you might consider taking someone to small claims court:

Unpaid debts: If someone owes you money and has not paid it back despite your efforts to collect, you may be able to file a small claims case to seek repayment.

Property damageYou can file a lawsuit if someone has damaged your property and has refused to pay for the repairs or replacement, you may be able to file a small claims case to seek compensation.

Breach of contractIf someone has violated the terms of a contract you have with them, such as failing to deliver goods or services as promised, you may be able to file a small claims case to seek damages.

Personal injuryIf someone has caused you harm, such as through a car accident or other incident, and you have incurred medical bills or other expenses as a result, you may be able to file a small claims case to seek compensation.

Security deposit disputes: If you are a tenant and believe your landlord has wrongfully withheld part or all of your security deposit, you may be able to file a small claims case to seek its return.

What is Small Claims Court?

Introduction to Small Claims Court

A small claims court is a special court designed to handle legal disputes involving relatively small amounts of money. The maximum amount of money that can be claimed in small claims court varies from state to state, but it is typically between $2,500 and $10,000.

A small claims case is a legal proceeding in which a plaintiff (the person who is suing) seeks to recover a relatively small amount of money from a defendant (the person being sued). The exact definition of "small" varies from state to state, but generally, small claims courts are intended for disputes involving amounts of money that are too low to justify the expense and time involved in a full-blown civil trial.

It is important to note that even if a case falls within the monetary limits of a small claims court, it may not be the best forum for resolving the dispute. In some cases, the issues may be too complex to be effectively resolved in small claims court, or the amount of money involved may be significant enough to warrant the expense of a full trial. In these situations, it may be necessary to seek legal representation and pursue the case through other channels.

The small claims system has been continually refined over the years to better serve the needs of the public. Today, small claims courts exist in all 50 states, and the specific rules and procedures vary from state to state.

Small Claims Process

The small claims court process is designed to be simple and straightforward so that people who do not have a legal background can represent themselves without the need for a lawyer. This is done to make the process more accessible to the general public and to reduce the costs associated with legal representation.

In a small claims case, the plaintiff (the person bringing the claim) files a claim against the defendant (the person being sued). The claim typically includes a brief description of the dispute,

the amount of money being sought, and any evidence that supports the claim. The defendant has an opportunity to respond to the claim and to provide evidence of their own.

After both parties have presented their cases, the judge makes a decision and issues a ruling. If the ruling is in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant may be ordered to pay the amount of money claimed. If the ruling is in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff's claim may be dismissed.

Small claims court can be a useful way to resolve disputes quickly and inexpensively. However, it is important to keep in mind that the court's decision is final, and there is typically no right to appeal. Additionally, small claims court may not be appropriate for all types of disputes, particularly those that are more complex or involve larger amounts of money.

Small Claims Law

In the United States, small claims law began to take shape in the early 20th century. The first small claims court was established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1913, and other states began to follow suit. In 1953, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws developed a model small claims act that has been adopted by many states. So, you can file small claims and take someone to the small claims court without any help from an attorney.

How to sue in Small Claims Court?

Before filing a small claims case it's important to note that the specific procedures and requirements for small claims court may vary by jurisdiction, so be sure to check with your local court for the most accurate information. Suing someone in small claims court is a relatively simple process that varies depending on the jurisdiction.

In a legal case, the defendant and the plaintiff are the two main parties involved in the dispute. It is very important to know the difference between Plaintiff and Defendant.


The plaintiff is the party who initiates the lawsuit by filing a complaint or claim in court. The plaintiff is usually the person who has suffered some harm, such as a physical injury, financial loss, or breach of contract and is seeking compensation or some other form of legal relief.


The defendant is the party against whom the lawsuit is brought. The defendant is typically the person or entity accused of causing harm or breaching the contract and is being sued by the plaintiff. The defendant may deny the allegations made by the plaintiff and may assert various defenses or counterclaims against the plaintiff.

Basic Steps for filing a Small Claim Case

These general steps can help you to smoothly precede your case in the small claims court.

  • Determine if your claim qualifies for small claims court: Small claims courts handle disputes that involve relatively small amounts of money, usually up to a certain limit (e.g., $5,000 or $10,000, depending on the jurisdiction). Check with your local court to see if your dispute is eligible for small claims court.
  • Identify the defendant: You need to know the full name and address of the person or entity you are suing.
  • Fill out the necessary forms: You will need to fill out a claim form or complaint, which you can obtain from the small claims court or online. The form will ask you to provide information about the dispute and the amount of money you are seeking.
  • File your claim: You must file your claim with the small claims court in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides or where the dispute occurred. There will be a filing fee, which varies by jurisdiction.
  • Serve the defendant: You must notify the defendant that they are being sued. This can be done by certified mail, personal service, or other methods specified by the court. You will need to provide proof of service to the court.
  • Attend the court hearing: The court will schedule a hearing where you and the defendant will present your cases to a judge or magistrate. Bring any evidence or witnesses that support your claim.
  • Receive the judgment: If the judge rules in your favor, the court will issue a judgment ordering the defendant to pay you the amount awarded. You may need to take additional steps to collect the judgment if the defendant does not pay voluntarily.

What are Statutes of Limitations for filing a law suit?

Statutes of limitations refer to the time limit for filing a lawsuit after an alleged wrongdoing has occurred. The time limit varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim. Statutes of limitations for small claims court will depend on the jurisdiction and the type of claim being brought. Some general guidelines are:

  • Contract claims: The statute of limitations for contract claims varies by state but is typically between two and six years from the date of the breach.
  • Property damage claims: The statute of limitations for property damage claims varies by state but is typically between two and six years from the date of the damage.
  • Personal injury claims: The statute of limitations for personal injury claims varies by state but is typically between one and six years from the date of the injury.

What to do before Filing a Small Claims Case?

Sending a demand letter via certified mail is often a necessary step before filing a small claims case.

What is a Demand letter?

A demand letter is a written document that is typically sent by one party to another party to demand that certain actions be taken to resolve a dispute. The purpose of a demand letter is to communicate a clear and concise message that outlines the issues at hand, the desired outcome, and any legal consequences if the recipient does not comply.

A demand letter may be used in a variety of situations, such as a dispute between a landlord and tenant, a disagreement between two businesses, or an issue between an individual and a service provider. In general, demand letters are used to try to resolve disputes without going to court, but they can also be used as evidence in a court case if necessary. Several measures can be followed for sending a demand letter via certified mail:

  • Gather information: Collect all the relevant information related to the dispute, including the name and address of the defendant, a summary of the dispute, and any relevant documentation.
  • Draft the demand letter: Write a clear and concise demand letter that outlines the details of the dispute, the requested resolution, and a deadline for response. Be sure to include all relevant information, such as the amount owed, the timeline of events, and any supporting documentation.
  • Send the demand letter: Send the letter via certified mail with a return receipt requested. This will provide proof that the letter was sent and received by the defendant.
  • Wait for a response: Give the defendant a reasonable amount of time to respond to the demand letter. Typically, this is 30 days, but it may vary depending on the circumstances of the dispute.
  • Consider alternative dispute resolution: If the defendant responds to the demand letter with a counteroffer, you may wish to consider alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, to resolve the dispute without going to court.
  • File a small claims case: If the defendant does not respond to the demand letter or does not agree to a satisfactory resolution, you may file a small claims case in court.

How to determine proper county for your Small Claim?

Once you've concluded that small claims court is the appropriate forum for your case, the next step is to determine the appropriate county to file your claim, known as the "venue." Proper venue is determined by several factors and depends on the type of claim you have. For instance, if you're involved in a car accident, the proper venue typically lies in the county where the defendant resides or where the accident occurred. If you entered into a contract, the proper venue is usually in the county where the contract was executed. If you require help determining the right county to file your claim, several counties have small claims advisors available to assist you.

How to file for the Small Claims Court?

After finding the appropriate county to file your claim, you need to initiate a lawsuit by completing and submitting the relevant paperwork. Once you have submitted the paperwork, the clerk will assign a hearing date and, in most states, serve the defendant by certified mail with a copy of your claim documents and notice of the hearing. If the defendant must be served by you, you can pay a fee to your local county sheriff's department or hire a process server to serve the documents, as you cannot serve the documents yourself due to being a party to the case. It is essential to ensure the defendant receives all documents filed with the small claims court and other required documents. You must file a "proof of service" with the court after serving the documents, indicating that the defendant received proper notice of the hearing date, to inform the judge.

Small Claims Court Forms

Small claims court forms and procedures can vary by state and jurisdiction, but here is a general list of some of the most common forms used in small claims court:

  • Summons: This form is used to formally notify the defendant that they are being sued and to inform them of the date and time of the court hearing.
  • Complaint or claim form: This form is used to initiate a small claims case and to provide details about the dispute, including the amount of money being sought.
  • Answer or response form: This form is used by the defendant to respond to the complaint and to provide their version of the events in question.
  • Counterclaim form: This form is used by the defendant to file a claim against the plaintiff, typically in response to a complaint or claim.
  • Motion form: This form is used to request a specific action or ruling by the court, such as a continuance or a dismissal of the case.
  • Notice of appearance: This form is used to inform the court that an attorney will be representing one of the parties in the case.
  • Subpoena form: This form is used to compel a witness to appear in court and testify.

Small Claims Court Fees

Small claims court fees can vary depending on the state and jurisdiction. Small claims court fee can vary widely depending on the state and jurisdiction. Be sure to check with your local court to determine the exact fees associated with your specific case. Here is a general list of some of the most common fees associated with small claims court in the United States:

  • Filing fee: This is a fee that must be paid when the plaintiff files a claim with the court. The amount of the fee can vary widely, ranging from around $15 to over $200 depending on the state and the amount of the claim.
  • Service fee: This is a fee that must be paid to have the defendant served with the court papers. The fee can range from around $20 to $100 depending on the type of service required and the jurisdiction.
  • Mediation fee: Some courts offer mediation as an alternative to a trial. If the parties choose to participate in mediation, there may be a fee associated with this service.
  • Transcript fee: If a party wants a transcript of the court hearing, there may be a fee associated with obtaining a copy.
  • Appeal fee: If a party wishes to appeal a decision made by the small claims court, there may be an additional fee associated with the appeal process.

What are the Tips that effectively represent you at the

Small Claims Court?

In order to maximize your chances of a successful outcome, the following tips can help you to effectively present your case at the small claims court.

  • Prepare thoroughly: Before the hearing, thoroughly review all of the evidence and documents related to your case. This will help you to anticipate any questions or arguments that the other party may present and prepare a strong response.
  • Be organized: Make sure that all of your documents are organized and easy to access. This will help you to quickly and effectively present your case to the judge.
  • Be respectful: Show respect for the court, the judge, and the other party. Avoid becoming angry or confrontational, as this can harm your case and make a negative impression on the judge.
  • Be concise: Stick to the relevant facts and keep your arguments clear and concise. Avoid getting bogged down in irrelevant details or emotional arguments.
  • Practice your presentation: Practice presenting your case to a friend or family member before the hearing. This can help you to identify any weaknesses in your argument and develop effective responses to possible counterarguments.
  • Bring all relevant documents: Make sure that you have all of the necessary documents with you, including any contracts, receipts, or correspondence that supports your case.
  • Be on time: Arrive at the hearing on time and be prepared to wait if necessary. Being late or unprepared can harm your case and make a negative impression on the judge.
  • Be open to settlement: Consider whether a settlement may be possible, as this can be a more efficient and cost-effective way to resolve the dispute.

How to File a Small Claim

A small claims case is brought for the recovery of money damages, civil penalties, personal property, or other relief allowed. The claim can be for no more than $10,000, excluding statutory interest and court costs but including professional fee if any. These Small Claims Courts can be used without the help of a professional. The person or company who files the case is called the plaintiff and the person or company they file the case against is called the defendant.

There are many private companies providing you with detailed guidelines regarding Filing A Case in a Small Claim Court. These companies have professionals to assist you in your matter and to file a case on your behalf in Small Claims Court. Before filing a case in the justice court, it is always recommended you attempt to resolve your problems with the other party.

Limit of Small Claim Court

You can ask for up to $10,000 in a small claims action Justice Court. This amount will increase to $20,000 on September 1, 2020.

Types of Small Claim Cases Courts

You can file a case in small claim court if you have any of the following disputes:

  • Auto accidents
  • Small loans
  • Defected new products
  • Poor services rendered
  • Landlord/Tenant Issues
  • Business partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Government agencies
  • Motor Vehicle Claims
  • Minors
  • Bill collectors

Small Claim Court Fee

The Justice of the Peace must collect total fee of $34.00 for the Filing of A Claim In The Small Claims​ Court. The filing fee is set out in Section 118.121 of the Local Government Code. Other fees in Small Claims Court are the same as those for cases in Justice Courts.

Process of small claim Courts

  • Submission of the case (filling forms)
  • Trials
  • Judgment
  • Filling an appeal

Who May Sue?

A person over the age of 18 years can sue in Small Claim Court. An underage can use the court accompanied by a parent, relative, or "next friend" over the age of 18 to file a claim and later go with the minor to the trial. Small Claims Cases are governed by Rules 500-507 of Part V of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The four most common reasons that plaintiffs file small claims cases are:

  • The defendant made a promise and then didn’t honor the promise, which caused the plaintiff to lose money (breach of contract);
  • The defendant owes money to the plaintiff and will not pay;
  • The defendant did something that caused damage to the plaintiff’s property or caused injury to the plaintiff; or
  • The defendant is in possession of personal property that belongs to the plaintiff.

Who May Be Sued?

You can file a case against the person or company that is responsible for your damages (lost money) or that has your personal property. If the business is a corporation, you will need the name of the registered agent, president, or vice president of the corporation. Any natural person, association, partnership, or corporation over which the Court has jurisdiction may be sued. The person or business being sued is called the "DEFENDANT". 

When to File Suit?

You can file a case for four years for written and oral contracts and two years for injury and Property Damage Claims. If you don’t file within this period, you lose your right to sue. If a minor is injured, the personal injury statute will not begin running until the child reaches 18 years of age. A Small Claim Court has no power to hear a suit that is filed after these set time periods.

Types of Trials in Small Claims Court

The trial of the case may be heard by the Judge of the Court sitting alone, or upon request of either party, by a six-person jury. The statute creating the Small Claims Courts allows either party to request a jury upon payment of a $22 fee. Anyone can file a request for a jury trial with the Court not later than 14 days before the date on which the trial is to be held. Having a trial by Judge alone will generally take less time and be less complicated than a jury trial.

Who Can Represent a Small Claim Justice Court?

You can appear before the Magistrate yourself but professionals can appear on behalf of small claims plaintiffs.

Procedure to Start a Suit

The Plaintiff has to go to the Civil Clerk of the Justice of the Peace Court. He has to fill out a small claim statement form. He has to provide the following information:

  • The Plaintiff's complete name and address.
  • The Defendant's complete name and address
  • The amount of the Plaintiff's claim
  • The basis of the Plaintiff's claim
  • The amount of money Plaintiff properly owes Defendant, if any.
  • Swear under oath that this small claim statement is true

You have to pay the Clerk a filing fee and the service of citation fee, to cover costs of serving citation on the Defendant. Once a trial date has been set, ask the Clerk to issue a subpoena. The full name and address of a witness are needed for a subpoena to be issued. A fee must be paid for each subpoena requested.

The Trial

If the Defendant in spite of being received the notice of the trial, does not appear in the court, the Judge is authorized to grant a default judgment against the Defendant. If the Plaintiff does not appear at the trial, then the Judge may enter an order dismissing the case. The Plaintiff and Defendant must bring to Court that day any evidence. Proceedings in Small Claims Court are less formal than in other civil courts. If it is a jury trial, the jury will deliver the verdict. If Defendant wins, Plaintiff will recover no money and must pay the court costs.

What Happens If the Plaintiff Wins?

If Plaintiff wins, Defendant will be ordered to pay Plaintiff the amount of money awarded by the Court, plus court costs. If Defendant does not pay the money awarded by the Court, then Plaintiff can ask the Clerk to issue an execution. An execution orders the Sheriff or Constable to collect the amount of the judgment and court costs. The Plaintiff may ask the Clerk to issue an execution any time from 30 days after the judgment has been signed. An execution cannot be issued if either party is appealing the judgment.

Appeals in the Small Claims Court

Either party has the right to appeal to the County Court if the amount of the dispute exceeds $250, exclusive of the court costs. To appeal, a party must file an appeal bond in the Small Claims Court within 21 days from the date of the judgment. The new trial will be held before another judge or jury as if the case had never been tried in the Small Claims Court.

Who Can Collect the Judgment?

You are responsible for all collection efforts. The court cannot collect a judgment on your behalf. Private companies who provide services for Small Claims can collect a judgment on your behalf.

What If I Cannot Afford to File a Case?

If you are unable to pay those fees, fill out a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs form – the court must provide this form to you.

Do I Need a Professional to File a Case?

The rules and procedures are designed to be simple and straightforward, allowing people to seek justice without needing to hire a professional. You can hire an expert for your convenience. If you do not have a professional to assist you in Small Claim Court, the judge may allow you to be assisted in court by a family member or another person who is not being paid to assist you. This person can help you understand the proceedings and advice you, though that person cannot speak for you in court.

Why Choose a Small Claim Filing Company To File Small Claim Courts?

At Small Claim Filing Company we are a professional company providing services nationwide. The team at Small Claim Filing Company is experienced and trained, and we know How Small Claim Court Works and have the knowledge to deal with your matters of small claims to provide you ease and comfort. We are trustworthy because we own your worries and troubles to give you peace of mind. Our experienced and certified specialists understand the court procedure very well. We begin working on your case once you visit us. To know more about our services, you can call us at (800) 327-1031.

Frequently Asked Questions About File Small Claims Online

How to file a claim in small claims court?

To file a claim in small claims court, complete the appropriate forms, pay the filing fee, and serve the defendant. Attend the hearing.

How much does it cost to file a claim in small claims court?

The cost to file a claim in small claims court varies by state and jurisdiction, typically ranging from $30 to $150.

How to file a small claim?

To file a small claim, complete the appropriate forms, pay the filing fee, and serve the defendant. Attend the hearing and present your evidence.

How to file a small claim online?

The process for filing a small claim online varies by jurisdiction. Check with your local court to determine if online filing is available.

How many days do you have to file a small claim?

The time limit to file a small claim varies by jurisdiction. It can range from a few months to several years, depending on the state.