Taking a case to small claims court is not something that can be taken lightly. The consequences might be serious, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll win. You have to make sure it’s worth it so that you don’t waste your time or money. You should also know what you can realistically expect to get out of the process. Let’s take a look at a few things you should consider before taking a case to the small claims court.
Do You Have a Case?
The first thing you have to do is see if your case is suited for a small claims court. The most important thing to remember is that a small claim has to be under a certain dollar limit. This dollar amount limit will depend on where you are in the country. In Missouri, for instance, the limit is $5000, while it’s $10,000 in Illinois. If you happen to live in Missouri and you want to know which type of cases should go before a small claims court, check out this Missouri small claims court article by Brown and Crouppen. It will tell you everything you need to know including cases where it could be a better idea to go with a lawyer.
It Will Cost You
You should also know that while small claims courts handle small settlements, they are not free. This is perfectly understandable considering all the resources that are being used. There will be fees to file a claim, and these will again differ depending on where you are based and how much the claim is for. In addition, know that you will have to pay the Secretary of State and Sheriff for their services, as well as other court fees depending on the nature of the claim.
It Might Take Time Before Your Case Gets Heard
You also have to know that it might take some time before you can get your case before a judge. There are tons of small claims cases to be heard, and you may have to wait months before your trial, so don’t expect to get retribution immediately. Note, however, that you will get a notice a few weeks before your court date so that you can prepare.
Have You Considered Settling?
You shouldn’t automatically assume that litigation is the only option. There’s also a chance that you could reach an agreement with the other party. This could save you a lot of headaches and you could have the whole thing settled without all the stress of waiting for your court date. The other party might be much more open to the option than you think, as long as you go about it the right way.
These are all are things that you’ll have to think about before taking a case to a small claims court. Make sure that you know what to expect by doing your research first, and ask for help if you need it.