How does Small Claims Court Work?
The Small Claims Court allows every citizen to bring a lawsuit in an informal manner and does not require that a party hire an attorney. You may hire an attorney if you want; however, in most instances you will not be able to get the other party to pay your legal fees even if you win unless there is some written agreement making the other party liable for your attorney’s fees.
The Small Claims Courts were created so that you would have a speedy, reasonably inexpensive, uncomplicated means of determination of your claim. It is for your benefit. It is your right. Do not be afraid to use it. The court’s staff and the clerk’s staff will assist you but they cannot give you legal advice.
The procedures are not complex. The Plaintiff fills out a simple form stating why the Defendant owes him or her money or that the Defendant has property which should be returned to the Plaintiff. Each party will explain his or her side of the story to the judge at trial. The judge may ask questions of each party to determine the complete facts of the case. The judge will make a decision based on the facts and evidence presented by the parties and on the law as it applies to the facts.