Summary: Small claims court can be expensive, especially if you are not sure you will win. Make sure you think of other ways to settle before you head straight to court.
In small claims court, cases are solved quickly and relatively inexpensively. Rules are also simplified, so everyday people can understand exactly what is going on. This makes small claims courts appealing, but is it really the best option? Make sure you know all the different avenues of settling your dispute, before jumping into small claims court.
How Much Is Your Claim?
Legal entities are limited to disputes of up to $5,000. These entities include corporations, partnerships, and governmental bodies. Individuals are limited to $10,000. Additionally, there is a limit of two times per calendar year that you can file a small claim over the amount of $2,500.
Is the Law on Your Side?
If a law exists that applies to your case, the judge in the small claims court must abide by that law. The judge will interpret said law with reasonableness and in fairness for both you and the opposing party. If you think the law is not on your side, then you might consider another avenue to settle the dispute, like a voluntary mediation.
What Is Voluntary Mediation?
Mediation is an informal process to solve disputes. An unrelated third party – a mediator – helps the two parties involved come to a solution. Unlike a judge, a mediator will not make a final decision. Since both parties have to agree on a result, mediation has a quality of restoring the relationship between the opposing parties. This makes mediation a great option for family members.
Before going to small claims court, make sure you have exhausted all other avenues to save yourself time and money.