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If you were recently wronged by someone and you are positive they owe you money, you have probably thought of the idea of taking them to small claims court. Maybe a previous tenant skipped town without paying the last few months rent, or you lent your friend money for a procedure that he refuses to pay back. Whatever the case, you want your money back without having to incur the expenses of hiring a lawyer. If you are planning on filing a small claims case, look at sites like http://www.smallclaim.com or follow these 5 easy steps to ensure that you have the greatest chance of receiving what you are owed.
Understand How Small Claims Works
Once you have determined that there is no other way to resolve your dispute, you'll need to know a little bit about how the small claims process works. First of all, you need to review your case thoroughly and make sure that you are owed what you think you are. Find evidence that proves you are owed monetary damages. You must also realize the limits to the amount of money you can sue for. The maximum amount of money that you can claim is $7,500, but it is just $5,000 in most cases.
Secondly, look back at when the money was owed to you. If the date is past the statute of limitations, you are pretty much out of luck.
File Your Claim
After you've gathered evidence and know just how much you are owed, it is time to file your claim. There are a few determining factors that you need to be aware of to ensure that your claim will be successful. Some of them include:
The precise name of the defendant is extremely important if you want to ensure that, legally speaking, you are suing the right entity. Also, it will be easier for government agencies to track down the right individual to serve. It is also important to contact the county clerk to inquire about what court costs there might be.
Serve the Defendant
Serving the defendant simply means that they have been legally summoned to small claims court for your case. It is important to hire the right person to serve the defendant because the defendant must be present when served, and can have no way to deny being served.
You can hire any outside party to serve the defendant, but the best option would be to enlist the services of your county sheriff or police constable to do the job. You must act quick, because all papers served must be given to the defendant at least 15 days before the court date.
Rehearse Everything You Will Say
The nature of small claims court is akin to rapid fire. Basically, each case is over within a half hour, so you have to know precisely what you will say to ensure that the decision is tilted in your favor. The best way to do this is go over everything you are going to say and rehearse it weeks before the court date.
The most important thing to do is remain calm. The defendant may spout outrageous lies and flail all over the place to prove his or her case. Start by immediately summarizing what happened, followed by how much the defendant owes you. Give detailed accounts of events and money transferred. Be sure to keep any necessary documents right in front of you so that you can prove your claim at a moment's notice.
Taking someone to small claims court can be a real hassle. In some cases, you may even lose a friend over it. But money is money, and you deserve the damages you are owed. If you follow these tips, you will be able to make this process go as smoothly as possible.Share