How Do I Start a Case In Small Claims Court?
A Small Claims Court Lawsuit Starts By Issuing a Plaintiff's Claim Document 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.
Understanding the Importance of Properly Reviewing and Preparing Before Starting a Small Claims Court Case
To start a case in the Small Claims Court requires the issuing of a document known as a Plaintiff's Claim. The Plaintiff's Claim is a form, known as Form 7A, and is available online. The main form parts of the form are relatively easy involving simple fill in the blanks information. The more challenging aspect of starting a lawsuit is knowing what parts of the story to say and what parts of the story to avoid saying, or at least to avoid in the beginning. There are many rules regarding the manner of what should be provided. The rules on starting a Small Claims Court lawsuit, referred to formally as 'commencing a proceeding', are found in Rule 7 of the Rules of the Small Claims Court.
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 I am countersued by the Defendant?
- What if I lose the case?
- What if I lose and the Defendant seeks costs against me?
- What if the Defendant sues another person as a 'third party'?
- What if I get a name wrong?
- What if the case becomes more complicated than originally expected?
The above questions, and many more, deserve careful review before haphazardly starting a lawsuit. Diligent review of these questions and the potential pitfalls are highly important before getting started.
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