What Starts a Case In Small Claims Court?

Beginning a Small Claims Court Case Requires Issuing a Document Known As a Plaintiff's Claim 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 To get a lawsuit started in Small Claims Court, the preparing and issuing of the document known as a Plaintiff's Claim is required.  The Plaintiff's Claim document is a specific form, numbered and referred to as Form 7A, and is accessible 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 rules of process for starting a legal case in the Small Claims Court can be found in 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 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 concerns listed above, among others, should be very carefully reviewed before bringing a lawsuit.  Diligent review of these questions and the potential pitfalls are highly important before getting started.

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