What Should Be Considered Before Starting a Small Claims Court Case?

A Small Claims Court Lawsuit Starts By Issuing a Plaintiff's Claim Document and Then Serving the Document Upon the Other Side. After Service Upon the Defendant, An Affidavit of Service Is Filed With the Court.

Understanding the Importance of Properly Reviewing and Preparing Before Starting a Small Claims Court Case

Lawsuit Document 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.  The prescribed rules for the requirements when beginning a Small Claims Court lawsuit are available for review at Rule 7 of the Rules of the Small Claims Court.

Although the Small Claims Court is, generally, thought of as a court with relatively informal processes that are simple enough for people to do without assistance from a lawyer or paralegal, there are many potential pitfalls as issues to think about.  Issues to think about include, among other things:

  • 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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