What Starts a Case In Small Claims Court?

Suing In Small Claims Court Starts With Issuing a Plaintiff's Claim Document and Serving the Plaintiff's Claim On the Defendant. 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 Starting a lawsuit in Small Claims Court requires the preparation of, and issuance of, a Plaintiff's Claim document. The Plaintiff's Claim is a form, known as Form 7A, and is available 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 people may think of Small Claims Court cases as an informal legal process, and indeed there are many Small Claims Court cases that are relatively simple enough that minimal, if any, legal training is required, there are still many concerns to consider. Before starting a Small Claims Court lawsuit, questions to consider include:

  • What if a counterclaim is brought against me?
  • What if I lose the lawsuit?
  • What if I lose and legal costs are awarded against me?
  • What if the Defendant includes a 'third party'?
  • What if I name someone wrong?
  • What if the case is more complicated than 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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