In the legal world, there are several different levels or types of court for different types of proceedings. As an example, a murder trial would take place in a different type of court than a child support case. Small claims court is one type of court that most everyone has likely heard of, though not many have had to go. Generally speaking, you’ll only find yourself in small claims court if you are suing someone, or if someone is suing you. All of the bigger, more serious cases are reserved for bigger and more serious courts of law.
Small claims court is reserved for civil cases that have to do with debts or damages. The dollar limit for the cases is $25,000, and there is never any chance of someone being sent to jail as a result of the ruling. Whether or not you show up with a lawyer is up to you, as it is also permissible to represent yourself. In some really straightforward cases, going it alone will probably work well, but when the dollar amounts start to rise you might want to enlist the help of some legal counsel. Even though it isn’t a big, highly publicized case, $25,000 is still $25,000.
Court Room Manners
The typical small claims court operates in a less formal manner than a standard courtroom. If you were someone who felt the need to take someone to small claims court, you would file your claim at the court that is closest to where the other person works or lives, or at the court that’s closest to where the event happened that you’re suing over. The reasons you might file include not being paid for work that you performed, recouping medical expenses after an accident or having to fix damage to your personal property.
Small Claims Court Process
In order for the whole process to begin, the defendant in the case must be served the claim. This can be performed by a courier, registered mail, by a process server or in person by the plaintiff. Once the defendant receives the claim, he or she has 40 days to file a defense. If that happens, everyone will be notified when they should show up at court for a pre-trial. This takes place before a judge, and most small claims cases are settled in the pre-trial phase. If the defendant decides not to file a defense, enforcement tactics like wage garnishment are used to help the plaintiff recover his or her money.
It’s important to remember that only cases of damages and debt are heard in small claims court. Personal issues like libel or slander don’t qualify, nor do issues dealing with land ownership or suing the government. If you feel like you have a case that has small claims written all over it, take a moment or two and find out for sure before you waste a bunch of time and resources getting your case ready. You’ll be happy you did.
This article is written by http://www.easycourt.ca/ , an online small claims court form creation tool.