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What is a Small Claims Court

By Edited Feb 10, 2014 0 0

Believe it or not, small-time disputes between people may be heard in a court. A tenant may sue his landlord if he refuses to return the tenant's security deposit, or if a laundry refuses to pay his customer for losing one shirt. These kinds of petty conflicts are not heard in a regular courtroom but instead are taken to a small claims court.

Unlike a regular court, small claims are designed to handle cases that are relatively "small" in terms of the money involved. They usually range from $1,000 to $5,000, but that would still depend on the limit of each state law. Even if there is a limit to the amount of claims, these courts may also handle small disputes between an individual and a government agency.

The rules of small claims court are very simple and informal, and the process of the claim is simplified which makes it relatively quick and inexpensive. There will be no jury during the hearing and both plaintiff and defendant don't require representation in the court. The people involved should represent themselves, but they can consult an attorney before heading to the court or even before filing the claim.

Auto accidents may also be filed in small claims courts in order to recover damages from the person liable, but only if the damage and injury sustained by the victim are not serious. However, since the worth of damage and injury are not that big, it may be a good idea to try an alternative before sending the case in a small court.

The party involved may write a letter asking the other person to negotiate into a compromise. The claim may also be resolved through the local Better Business Bureau or the consumer protection of the state attorney general. Acquire a neutral third party to serve as mediator and do the negotiation in a neutral setting.

But in case any of these alternatives are proven useless, an auto accident small claims court complaint should be in the works. Filing a case in small claims is easy. The complainant just has to fill out forms, pay the filing fee, and deliver the service of process to the defendant. A pretrial hearing will follow. If the case is not settled on that level, the hearing will start. Like in an ordinary court trial, it is important for both parties to come in prepared.



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