How to File a lawsuit in small claims court
If you are having a small issue with someone or are having trouble recovering money from somewhere, you may want to consider filing a lawsuit. Filing in small claims court is complicated, but with this tutorial, you will be on your way to understanding the steps a bit better.
You Will Need
• Court forms
• Information and evidence
• Preparation skills
• Knowledge of court etiquette
Step 1: Fill out the proper form
Fill out the proper form. Forms vary from state by state, so inquire at your local court.
Step 2: Wait on the defendant's response
Wait on the defendant's response. The defendant is the person you're suing, and they may have up to 30 days to respond.
Step 3: Anticipate a response
Anticipate a response. You, the plaintiff, may receive payment from the defendant and can fill out a dismissal form to end the proceedings – but if not, forge ahead.
Step 4: Prepare your case
Prepare your case. Gather your information and evidence.
Step 5: Practice what you'll say
Practice what you'll say. Clearly and concisely, state what the problem is and how much you are requesting, including any court costs.
Step 6: Brush up on court etiquette
Brush up on court etiquette. Remember to address the judge as "your honor," dress appropriately, and stand when you present your case – and don't address the defendant directly.
Step 7: Be confident
Be confident. You can now present your case in the best way possible.
In small claims court, you're only awarded money. So if you need help with other matters, ask the clerk to point you to the right court.
Step 8: Be tenacious
Be tenacious. If the defendant doesn't pay within the allotted time period, you may need a lawyer's assistance – the court will not actually collect any money owed you.