How Do I Start a Lawsuit 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 Service Upon the Defendant, An Affidavit of Service Is Filed With the Court.
A Helpful Guide For How to Prepare For Small Claims Court
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 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 things to think about. Things to think about 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.