What Starts a Case In Small Claims Court?

Suing In Small Claims Court Starts With Issuing a Plaintiff's Claim Document and Serving the Plaintiff's Claim On the Defendant. 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

Lawsuit Document 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 many people think of the the Small Claims Court as relatively informal, and some legal issues are simple enough that laypeople can handle a case without needing assistance from a lawyer or paralegal, there are concerns to think about.  Things to think carefully 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 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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