Small claims court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice. When you have a dispute with another person regarding the little monetary value, you should file your case to a small claim court. Therefore, you should follow this guideline to know about the specific process and small claims court fees for filing the simple matters of everyday disputes.
In a typical small claim, one person sues another for money or return of property. So, if someone has damaged any of your personal properties within the value of $35,000, then you can file a monetary claim in these courts.
Types of Claims You Can File in Small Claims Court
You can file any cases related to the demand for money or personal property in this court. However, the value of the monetary claim cannot exceed $35,000. This amount is excluded from any interest and small claims court fees. The threshold of $35,000 includes the total value of the goods you, as a plaintiff, are asking for.
So, what if the value of the item you are filing a case for exceeds $35,000? Can you not go to small claims court? Well, you certainly can. As long as you are claiming money for any simple and easy damage or lost property, you can choose this court.
However, any amount exceeding the maximum dollars means that you will not get that extra money back even if you win the case. Moreover, the division of funds into separate cases is also not acceptable.
Here are 02 categories of examples of claims that you can file in the small claims court:
Money Owed Under an Agreement
Suppose you loaned someone some money that is returned after a certain period with interest, but that person is not paying you back. As a result, you choose to file a case in the court where these simpler disputes are solved.
Moreover, you may have performed a service for a person or sold a good on account, but the person still owes you money. In these cases, you can get the support of small claims court.
The other things you can claim a short amount of money for are damages done to your personal properties. Sometimes, you may give your favorite suit for dry-cleaning, and after it returns, you find out that it has been ruined.
Fear not, because you can claim compensation for this too. On other serious notes, small claims court accepts cases related to personal injuries and breach of contract as well.
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Small Claims Court Filing Fees: How Much You Are Entitled to Pay
The court costs are determined by considering some relevant issues. The most significant of them is by evaluating how often you have been filing cases in the court. The fees are set by judging the frequency of a plaintiff’s claims in a single year.
You become a frequent claimant when you file cases at the same court for more than 10 times a year. So, the fees are slightly different and modified in your case. You will be charged $215 just for filing the case in the court.
If you file a default judgment, the amount will go down to $121. A whopping $380 will be charged for fixing a date for hearing and assessing the pieces of evidence of your claim. Finally, you will need to pay $120 for filing a notice of motion for written assessments.
As you can guess, you become an infrequent claimant when you make less than 10 claims at the same court location in a calendar year. However, this does not necessarily mean that all of the fees will rise-up or decrease.
For instance, you will have to pay only $102 for filing a claim. The amount for filing default judgment is also lesser with only $89, and the assessment hearing is $290. Nevertheless, you will be charged precisely the same amount as a frequent claimant for written assessment filings.
Small Claims Court Process: 4 Stages of Solving a Dispute
There are 04 stages of completing a whole court procedure of solving a dispute case filed in small claims court.
The procedure begins by you filing a case in the court. You will have to fill out an online form, pay the fees mentioned above, and submit it online. Additionally, You must have gathered all the evidence in the meantime.
You may need the contract paper, recorded payments, returned cheques, or photographs of property damage considering the type of claim you filed in the court.
Once you have filed a claim of money against someone, the defendant gets a notice. If the person disapproves of your claim, he or she can now file a defense.
The defendant will make a photocopy of the form and any other supporting documents. All these will be sent to the claimant, and this is called “serving” the defense.
The defendant sends another copy with an affidavit of service to the court office. The defendant must fill out the form and pay the fees of defense.
The clerk of the court will keep one copy for the judge and return another to the defendant for records. The cost of filing a defense is $73.
The Settlement Conference
Next up, the court schedules a conference for settlement for both parties. It is scheduled within the next 90 days of the defense file by the defendant. The court will also issue a list of witnesses to be present from both sides on the day of settlement.
A judge monitors the settlement conference. Here, the parties discuss their case and claims. They argue and logically debate each other’s perspectives and evidence. If they both can decide on their own and with the help of the small claims court lawyer, the issue is settled before going to trial.
The trial takes place before a different judge than the one who was present during the settlement conference. If both parties cannot agree, another judge will again listen to both parties’ arguments. The lawyer will present the cases, and eventually, the judge will make a decision.
We experience disputes and arguments over simple yet concerning issues every day of our lives. There are issues regarding very few amounts of money owed by someone or destroying personal property.
In such cases, you can go to small claims court to file your lawsuit. The small claims court fees and overall process mentioned in this article can help you understand how the court works and enhance your chance of winning.
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