I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
The first step for many people is to see if you can negotiate a settlement or get them to agree to pay to avoid a lawsuit. Eleven thousand dollars is too much to sue in Small Claims Court, so it may be worth seeing if you can negotiate some kind of agreement to avoid the greater time and expense of the civil courts. Sometimes it helps to send a demand letter, via certified mail or through a local attorney, giving them a firm deadline to try to resolve the issue.
Once you've decided that you definitely want to sue, you'll draft a Complaint. There are many different types of complaints, based on the type of case you have, but you may be able to find something you can use on sites like www.legalzoom.com or www.uslegalforms.com. If there is a law library near you, you can also go look at books that will have lots of sample complaints, or a local attorney will draft it for you. You're allowed to ask for reimbursment of your filing fees as part of the case.
Once the Complaint is written, you take it to the courthouse along with a couple of copies, fill out a Summons (which they should have), and pay the filing fee. The clerk will give you a case number, and you will have the Summons and a stamped copy of the Complaint served on the other party. Any adult can hand the person the Summons and Complaint for you, but you cannot do it yourself. The sheriff's department also does this for a small fee, which can be helpful. What to do after that will depend on how, or if, the other party responds to the lawsuit.
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