The first step is to decide if your case can be brought to small claims court. This is determined by the amount of monetary damages or money owed by the defendant. You'll be able to search for the limits in your state, or you can contact the local courthouse.
If you're positive that the defendant owes you money, you must first request the money be repaid via a certified letter. This will act as proof that the defendant knows that you're pursuing money owed. If the defendant does not comply with your mailing, you must proceed with filing a case.
The next step in filing your claim is to determine the defendant's name. You'll need to present the following:
- The full first and last name of the defendant if the defendant is a person.
- The exact legal name if the defendant is a corporation.
We can help you find a lawyer to help prepare your claim.
Once the name of the defendant is known, you'll need to visit the county courthouse and tell the clerk that you would like to file a claim. The clerk will be able to explain how to file a claim in small claims court in your county.
The final part of the process is to have papers served to the defendant. You may have the option of doing this yourself or hiring a due process server to serve the defendant with the documents. There is also the possibility of allowing the county clerk to file the papers via certified mail, which is preferred.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.