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Small Claims Court And Related Questions

Do you want to know the procedure for suing in a small claims court? Or, need to know what happens if a person fails to appear at a small claims court proceeding? Typically, small claims courts are designed to be user friendly where a claim can be presented without an attorney present as there is a limit on the amount one can claim. Proceedings of the small claims court is also known to move faster than with other regular courts. To understand more about small claim courts read below where verified Experts have answered a few questions.

What are the steps to be taken when a person and/or company gets sued in a small claims court?

Generally, if a person or company get sued in the small claims court, they need to file a written answer with the court and also send a copy to the party or plaintiff filing the lawsuit. Once this is filed, the court sets a hearing for trial, where both plaintiff and defendant have the opportunity to present their arguments, evidence, documents and witnesses. The judge will then review the information provided and take a decision accordingly. An important point to note is that the plaintiff has the burden to prove to the court with the help of clear evidence that the debt is valid and payable. The defendant will also get their right to contest any allegations related to the debt payable. 

In Washington, can a mechanical lien or action be taken in a small claims court if a customer fails to pay for the vehicle repair instead drives away?

Case Details: The cost of repair was $5,800.

Essentially, to pursue the money due after losing possession of the vehicle can be difficult and it may not be possible to file a suit for replevin. This is because the mechanic’s lien is a possessory one which implies that as long as you have possession of the vehicle, the lien is enforceable. Instead you would need to file a civil suit for breach of contract against the vehicle owner and try to seek a judgment against them. As per Washington law, a small claims court entertains cases up to a limit of $5,000 and since in this case, the damages are over this limit, you would have to file in a regular civil court, serve them with the suit, summons and take them to court. Alternatively, you can opt to sue in a small claims court by forfeiting the amount excess of $5,000.

How to enforce payment of less than $7,000 for cleaning services carried out in New Hampshire?

You can approach a small claims court and file a suit without a lawyer’s services. However, there may be limits set on the amounts that can prevent you from suing for the entire amount and as mentioned in the previous answer, you may need to settle for part of the amount. Moreover, based on the description of the case, it is unlikely to go to trial if the matter is clear that the other party owes the money to the cleaning company. The first step to go about filing this suit is to approach the applicable state bar association or one of the state’s law schools for a referral.

What are the options for a person who was sued in a small claims court but failed to appear in court several times for legal proceedings?

In such a scenario, the defendant may have one option which is a motion to set aside or vacate default judgment. For this, the owner would need to provide the small claims court a valid reason for absence not to defend himself. The following scenarios can be considered valid reasons; the legal notice was not received, received too late or notice to appeal was too late. There may be a need to convince the court that if in the event of these notices being received in a timely manner, the defendant would have appeared in court. If it has been on more than one occasion that the defendant has not appeared in court, the small claims court may not be willing to exercise its discretion to set aside the default and it is entirely dependent on the judge’s discretion. If the judge does not set aside the default, the person would have to appeal to the district court and in such an eventuality, a local attorney would need to be hired.

What are the chances of overturning a decision in a small claims court and obtaining a major reimbursement?

Case Details: Health insurance company credited the customer’s check on a wrong date.

Prior to taking any further steps, if the concerned company complied with the law, they have no obligation or duty to repay any money back. In case if a person has cancelled the policy properly as per the terms and conditions but the company failed to follow the cancellation policy, then there is a basis to sue in small claims and recover the money due. However, it would be the burden of the accuser to prove that the company failed to follow the terms of the policy. If they did follow the procedure, it is unlikely the decision will get overturned in small claims court.

As seen above, small claim courts are one of the junior courts in the legal hierarchy and deal with small claims and minor cases. It is useful in recovering small amounts to overcome your troubles and also maintain credit worthiness. To be aware to be aware of various procedures and options either while filing a case or being a defendant, have your questions answered, quickly and efficiently by consulting legal Experts online.

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