How Do I Start a Case In Small Claims Court?
Beginning a Small Claims Court Case Requires Issuing a Document Known As a Plaintiff's Claim and Then Serving the Document Upon the Other Side. After the Defendant, Being the Other Side Is Served, An Affidavit of Service Must Then Be Filed With the Court.
Getting a legal case started within the Small Claims Court involves issuance of a formal document known as a Plaintiff's Claim. The Plaintiff's Claim document is known as a Form 7A and can be found online. The main form is relatively easy to complete as much is just filling in the blanks with basic information such as names and addresses of the parties involved in the lawsuit. More difficult is the telling of the story that gives rise to the lawsuit whereas, in legal matters, the story often must be written in a sensible chronology and will often require some legalese, even in Small Claims Court. Additionally, knowing what should be said and what should be omitted can be crucial.
Although many people think of the the Small Claims Court as relatively informal, and some legal issues are simple enough that laypeople can handle a case without needing assistance from a lawyer or paralegal, there are concerns to think about. Things to think carefully about include:
- What if a counterclaim is brought against me?
- What if I lose the lawsuit?
- What if I lose and legal costs are awarded against me?
- What if the Defendant includes a 'third party'?
- What if I name someone wrong?
- What if the case is more complicated than expected?
The concerns listed above, among others, should be very carefully reviewed before bringing a lawsuit. Diligent review of these questions and the potential pitfalls are highly important before getting started.