The special procedures of small claims courts differ in each state. This is considered a specialized and simplified special court. It is part of the municipal or county court system and is available for lawsuit limited for money claims.
Each state sets a limitation on how much you may ask for in a small claims court, this is usually a relatively small amount between 2,500 and 7,500 dollars. Some of the claims may be such disputes as failure to repay a loan, failure in service contracts, i.e. remodeling a bathroom, or fixing a car or appliance.
A few States may rule on a few other disputes such as evictions or requests for the return of property. Small Claims court is never used to file suits against the federal government, file a divorce, guardianship, name change, bankruptcy, or injunctions to stop someone from doing an illegal act.
Most States will allow a lawyer to represent you in small claims court. The high fees of lawyers in dealing with the relatively small amounts of money in small claims disputes, is not cost effective. It has been noted that those that represent themselves fair just as well as those who have hired a lawyer.
How does the court work?
In this system, simple procedures are used for filing suits. When it comes to the trial there are fewer rules and less formality. A judge will decide the case, and there is no jury. In some states, the actual event can be arranged after work hours. Little paperwork is involved. Costs are low for handling the cases in small claims court and it process’s cases comparatively quickly.
In preparing for your case, be sure to be able to back up your claims, because “just saying it” will not make it true. The judge does not know you or your reputation for honesty, and the opponent is claiming that his story is also “true.” The judge is a busy person and to keep his attention get to the point, “bottom line” lets him know what happened at the end of the story, keep it simple.
Check with your local consumer bureau, small claims clerk, and legal aid groups for laws and rules regarding filing suits in small claims court. Remember that you will be acting for yourself; no lawyer will be there to help. You will need to put effort in research, gathering documents, and checking our facts, to prepare and present your case effectively, with eyewitnesses, photographs, expert’s documentation, false “hyped” advertisements, and include written contracts.