What Starts a Case In Small Claims Court?

A Small Claims Court Lawsuit Starts By Issuing a Plaintiff's Claim Document and Then Serving the Document Upon the Other Side. Once the Other Side, Being the Defendant Is Served, An Affidavit of Service Is Then Filed With the Court.

Understanding the Importance of Properly Reviewing and Preparing Before Starting a Small Claims Court Case

Lawsuit Document To get a lawsuit started in Small Claims Court, the preparing and issuing of the document known as a Plaintiff's Claim is required.  The Plaintiff's Claim document is a specific form, numbered and referred to as Form 7A, and is accessible 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 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 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.  Concerns 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 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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