Small Claims Court is when you are being sued or want to sue someone in an amount less than $5,000.00.
The rules of court for small claims are much simpler than County Court, and or Circuit Court.
It is a court of limited jurisdiction and generally the exclusive remedy is money damages (in other words you cannot raise your family law claims, requests for injunctions, or request other types of relief in small claims court).
Generally, once a small claims case has been filed, it is scheduled for mediation. At mediation you can resolve the dispute with the other party and if successfully resolved you then do not have to go back to court.
If unresolved at the mediation services in the court house, they will usually schedule the parties for a trial date.
At trial you have to be ready with all of your evidence and legal arguments as this usually will be your only chance to win your case; continuances and do overs are VERY rare.
It is not usually cost effective to use an Attorney for a small claims case. As you are not guaranteed to win, and few attorneys (if any) would ever take a small claims case on a contingency basis.
So, usually you have to pay significant attorney fees up front. Also, even though you are being sued or suing for a small amount, the amount of attorney work involved is usually significant because there are usually long wait times for the mediation, and of course most attorneys charge by the hour.
I find that if you are not concerned with the cost effectiveness of your case, and just want to ensure that justice prevails, then it is worthwhile to hire an attorney for a small claims case.
Also, the judge under certain limited circumstances can award court costs, and attorney fees to the prevailing party, and this is in addition to the $5000 lawsuit limit.
If you are being sued in small claims court or would like to file a small claims lawsuit, feel free to call us for a FREE consultation about your potential case. I would be happy to talk with you
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