How Do I Start 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.

Lawsuit Document Getting a legal case started within the Small Claims Court involves issuance of a formal document known as a Plaintiff's Claim.  The Plaintiff's Claim document is known as a Form 7A and can be found online.  The main form is relatively easy to complete as much is just filling in the blanks with basic information such as names and addresses of the parties involved in the lawsuit.  More difficult is the telling of the story that gives rise to the lawsuit whereas, in legal matters, the story often must be written in a sensible chronology and will often require some legalese, even in Small Claims Court. Additionally, knowing what should be said and what should be omitted can be crucial.

The rules of process for starting a legal case in the Small Claims Court can be 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 I am countersued by the Defendant?
  • What if I lose the case?
  • What if I lose and the Defendant seeks costs against me?
  • What if the Defendant sues another person as a 'third party'?
  • What if I get a name wrong?
  • What if the case becomes more complicated than originally expected?

The above questions, and many more, deserve careful review before haphazardly starting a lawsuit. Diligent review of these questions and the potential pitfalls are highly important before getting started.

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